Thanksgiving is a good-spirited holiday. It’s more than a day off in the middle of the week when embittered carb-counters sit around and scowl at stuffing, gravy, yams, and that weird green marshmallow pudding—everything but the bird, in fact. It’s a day of reverence. It’s a day to reflect on those things for which we are thankful.
Different families celebrate Turkey Day in different ways. However, lately it has become more about the football, the parades, the beer and tryptophan-induced naps. We need to get back to the true spirit of Thanksgiving, and take a little time to show our gratitude for those little things that make us smile the rest of the year.
In keeping with another Thanksgiving tradition, spanning more than seven years, I have come up with a short list of things for which I am thankful. I encourage you to do the same.
· This year, I’m thankful for the latest hit television series, “GOP Primary Debates.” Each member of this year’s cast is frantically vying for supremacy by appealing to the lowest common denominator—it’s like “Survivor: The Deep South,” and only the craziest will survive. The competition is so intense, the participants so outrageous, I feel like we should be voting with our cell phones.
· On a related note, I’m happy that I’m not a member of the United States Congress, which is currently enjoying a 9% approval rating from the American public. To put this in perspective, 11% of Americans supported a Communist American economy in a poll earlier this year. The IRS clocked its lowest approval rating at 40% in a 2009 Gallup poll, and BP maintained a 16% approval rating during last year’s oil spill.
· I’m grateful that there isn’t anything I want so badly that it compels me to camp out for Black Friday sales. A Best Buy in St. Petersberg, Florida, has had campers out front since last Wednesday. Perhaps my shopping compulsion isn’t fully-matured, but I’m not sure I’d camp out for a week if they were offering FREE tablets and televisions. Recession or not, it seems that the national trend to move away from door-buster sales, with maddened crowds and conditions ripe for tramplings, is a move in the right direction. Fight frostbite, and shop like a normal person.
· On a more serious note, Thanksgiving is a time for appreciating the things we often take for granted. With that in mind, I’m thankful that we still have so many living legends who are still making music—like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and B.B. King, to name a few. We’ve seen too many talented artists taken from us before their time, but it’s great that we still have a few “greats” left to entertain us.
· I think we should also give thanks to our troops, fighting for our freedom overseas. They’re putting their lives on the line, spending the season away from their families so that we can be with ours, and for that I’m appreciative. I’m also grateful that they’ll be coming home soon.
I am also thankful for my family, my friends, and a couple of jobs that I love. I’m thankful for the opportunities that I have been given, and for my health. This Thanksgiving weekend, set aside a moment or two to genuinely give thanks for the things that you may take for granted the year through. We really do have a lot to be thankful for.
Originally printed in “Pulse,” 11/24/2011.
© Damien Willis, 2011. All rights reserved.