Hey, things could always be worse, I tell myself. I could be riding in the back of a light pickup truck in the middle of hell, as seen above. Where riding across a mine, being hit by a small IED or shot up by small arms would be quick and fatal.
I’m not there anymore, and I probably never will be again, for which I give thanks. I don’t give thanks for some holiday where indigenous people helped out their new neighbors, and their new neighbors proceeded to turf them out of their ancestral lands. I’m not giving thanks for that, nor am I looking into the past and nursing grievances about stuff that happened long before I was born.
That’s not my style.
Rather, on this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for present-day, tangible things.
Survival through this horrible plague, for most of those I know. A full belly. A warm house. A decent glass of wine, and the prospect of a delicious meal with amazing desserts. Eventually I’ll get a new truck, although I must say this year of shortages and stress has given me a surprise or two.
Thankful that most of us have survived, although some have not, with fatalities from various causes. Bad stinking year, after a bad year. Sooner or later the worm will turn, although it hasn’t yet. I remind myself that perseverance is one of the most important of traits. Endurance. Patience.
I try to exercise these things. To remind myself that I’ve lived through bad times before, and eventually these will pass like all the others.
So, on this Thanksgiving I really am thankful. Not for some set-piece Charlie Brown Thanksgiving BS, but for real reasons, and not make-believe.
Maybe that’s the real utility of this holiday.
Not for some white-washed version of what happened in the seventeenth century, but for what we experience today.
What are we thankful for?
There is so much, even in the midst of a terrible epidemic and societal upheaval.
Check it out. I’ll say what I’m thankful for. You guys can chime in if you want.
A good family. Good friends. A cool reader base. A meaningful craft in retirement. A body not blown to bits. Medical care, physical and mental (Thanks, VA). Dry roof. Full belly. Good roads. No gunfire nearby.
The list goes on.
So, yeah. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be just some story about the Pilgrims and their Native hosts.
Thanksgiving can be every stinking day.
I encourage you all to be thankful, because for the vast majority of us, we have a lot to be thankful for. I mean, come on, Netflix. Burger King. Walmart. This is a land of plenty and ease!
Do your best, guys. And think about things to be thankful for.