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Sunday, November 23, 2008

It’s Easier to Be Thankful if You’re Not a Turkey

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but for most people it just gets lost between Halloween and Christmas. As soon as the Halloween costumes and decorations go on sale, Christmas carols fill store aisles with holly jolly holiday tunes. The TV Guide is jam packed full of Christmas specials and Christmas music plays in about half the commercials. A nearby town had their Christmas parade this weekend—a full week before Thanksgiving!

Some people already have Christmas decorations up, but I’m still in autumn mode. I don’t want to skip Thanksgiving. It’s time to reflect on the things I’m thankful for. The economic crisis has made me think about things I normally take for granted. With my hemorrhaging 401K, I’m thankful I’m still employed. With all the defaulted mortgages, I’m thankful my home is paid in full.

I’m thankful none of the diets I’ve gone on have worked. I have extra pounds to tide me over if I have to cut back on my grocery bill. If I miss a few meals, I will be thankful to have an entire new wardrobe of “skinny” clothes in my closet.

My car has more than 100,000 miles on it, but I’m thankful I do not have a car payment. I’m thankful that gas prices have dropped, and I no longer feel like I need to take out a loan to fill my tank. Maybe I can actually go somewhere now.

When every bone in my body aches, I’m thankful that I’m not a herring. (OK, that’s an old joke and I “borrowed” it.)

I am most thankful that I have family and friends that I love. I’m thankful my sons married terrific women and my four grandchildren are healthy. I’m thankful my cat has to sleep from time to time and isn’t climbing the walls twenty-four/seven.

Maybe we just need to slow down a bit. At least enough that we do not miss a holiday that only involves gathering family together and eating ourselves silly. It reminds me of home, pumpkin pie, dressing, cranberries, and turkey. How can people not love this holiday best of all?

Thanksgiving does not have the pressure of Christmas. No one expects us to put on our happy face and know the ideal gift to buy. It is perfectly acceptable to be reflective and a bit pensive at Thanksgiving. No one is forced to be merry and ho-ho-ho at every opportunity. We can be ourselves at Thanksgiving without being called “Scrooge” or someone saying “Bah-Hum-Bug!”

Have you ever noticed that people will ask you what you got for Christmas, but they won’t ask you what you are thankful for on Thanksgiving? We really aren’t pressured to be thankful.

I’m thankful that I’ll be eating a turkey instead of being a turkey served as the main course on Thanksgiving Day. Yes, everyone except turkeys can surely find something to be thankful for. If nothing else, just be thankful that if you aren’t thankful no one else will take it personally. So have a happy turkey day if you want. Be thankful, if you so desire. But please, please don’t forget Thanksgiving in your rush toward Christmas.
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