Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wednesday's Words for November 27, 2019

From everything I’ve seen posted by and heard in conversations with my American friends over the last few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that today—the day before Thanksgiving—is one of the busiest days of the year for y’all.

It’s busy because so many people plan to go home for this celebration. There are more people flying and driving the Interstate system in the United States in preparation for this holiday this week than for any other.

And it’s busy because, with so many people heading home for the Thanksgiving Day feast, there are more turkeys being purchased and cooked, more yams, more green bean casseroles, more stuffing, and more pumpkin pie than at any other time during the year. That food doesn’t cook itself. Moms and Dads across America will be cooking up a storm today and tomorrow.

And lately, it’s been busy because of “Black Friday” - the big every-where-you-look retail sales events that draw in those wishing to find the perfect bargain, and those who are wanting to get a jump on their Christmas shopping.

I have a friend who does all of her Christmas shopping on Black Friday. Most of the time she avoids big cities and shopping like the plague. She loves the quiet of her rural Indiana life and the absence of crowds from her daily experience. She prefers to stay at home, really not enjoying traveling at all. But her own personal family tradition sees her and her two daughters heading off to the malls for a huge shopping blitz the day after Turkey Day.

Yes, we here in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving (a month earlier than you) and have even begun to have our own Black Friday sales. But despite that, I consider Thanksgiving to be a uniquely American holiday. Our sharing a continent as well as a language and a popular culture, and a history up until the Revolution—all of which has been entwined like a giant licorice Twizzler—means that we naturally assume some of your customs. I hope you don’t mind, since they do say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

From where I’m sitting, here north of the 49th, it appears that Thanksgiving Day in the United States is also the unofficial start of the Christmas season. I wonder if that has anything to do with the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York City? Santa is always at the end of that event, which suggests a natural segue from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

I know that I’ve observed in the past that our two countries do uphold similar traditions when it comes to Thanksgiving. The ones I’ve cited have mostly been related to food. But there is another tradition that I’ve seen evidence of this past year, especially, and on both sides of our border.

I do a fair bit of lurking on social media, and there are many people who take the opportunity to write, at this time of year, about the things for which they’re most grateful. Some people take to blogs, and some just to Face Book to post one thing every day that they’re thankful for. That is one Thanksgiving tradition I hope lasts far into the future, for the people of both our countries.

It’s fitting, from time to time, to take a few moments, and to meditate on the things we have in our lives for which we should give thanks. Like most of you, I put my family and friends at the top of that list. I’m grateful for the house I live in, and the heat that keeps me warm as the winter winds howl outside. I’m grateful for the life I live. We’re not wealthy, my husband and I, but we have enough. We have some independence, and can pretty much do most of what we choose. I’m grateful for the ability to write, and for the joy I receive when I hear from those who read my books, or my essays. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’m given to reach out and touch others, to give a hand, or a hug, or a heartfelt word of encouragement.

I’m grateful for each new dawn, for each new sunset, and for every breath I draw. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, not for any of us. So while I am here, and I can do so, I will continue to be grateful.


No comments: