Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
I think this dates back to the first grade, when the teacher had us doing art projects like pasting colorful construction-paper feathers on construction-paper turkeys, creating construction-paper pilgrim hats, and making our own Indian headbands (out of construction paper, of course) which we gleefully wore to the cafeteria.We didn’t care that the fourth graders laughed at us. We didn’t know fourth graders existed. Blissful ignorance pretty much describes a first grader.
I’d be thankful for a little more of that now.
Thanksgiving is the only national holiday based strictly on the encouragement of an emotion (thankfulness). Other holidays call on us to remember specific days, often long ago, when specific things happened. Sometimes that’s hard. Thanksgiving just urges us to pause and make an effort feel a certain way.
(Thankful, that is. Aren’t you thankful I keep feeding you the answers?)
But just as few observe the Twelve Days of Christmas, rare among us are those who take time to savor the Thanking Season. On my calendar that runs from just after Halloween (dual thankfulnesses: that your kids do not realize you raided their candy, and that you did not eat all the Tootsie Rolls at once, although you wanted to) to sometime around mid-afternoon the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day (when you realize you have to go back to work the next morning and thankfulness becomes more difficult to muster).
Nevertheless, the first three weeks of November should be filled with thankful thoughts that pop up at random, like sprinkler heads amid the fall leaves.
This is completely voluntary. But in case anyone needs a boost, here are a few of mine, just to prime the pump. I’m thankful:
- that it wasn’t 100 degrees for 100 straight days this past summer;
- for all the extra sleep I got, thanks to the Rangers’ early playoff exit;
- that the Cowboys and Mavericks offer the promise of abundant sleep to come;
- for the genius of fingernail clippers;
- for the channel-changing button on my remote control;
- for WD-40, duct tape and baling wire;
- that so many of my friends’ kids are so darn cute;
- that those cute kids belong to my friends, not me;
- that cheetahs can run so fast;
- that the part of the world I live in is pretty much cheetah-free;
- for Cheetohs (and Attention Deficit Disorder);
- that there’s another “Hobbit” movie coming out;
- that the political campaign season is over;
- for a country where the most upheaval we experience in turning over a government is nausea from all the campaign commercials;
- that my wife’s standard for “handsome” appears to be slipping as I age;
- that she still fully hits my standard for “beautiful,” which hasn’t slipped a bit;
- for the music that plays in my head, all the time;
- that it’s not Lil Wayne;
- for a job, and the chance to work with so many talented people;
- for weekends;
- for the generations on either side of me, who launched me and will soar beyond me;
- for my “birthday boys” – a dad who’ll be 91 and a son who’ll be 19 on Thanksgiving Day this year;
- for pie – pretty much any kind;
- for seasons, especially spring and fall;
- for William Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost;
- that I’m not, and never will be, the star of any kind of reality TV show (unless it’s on DIY and they want to crash my kitchen);
- for the kitchen, especially the fridge.
- that America is still a land where peace, opportunity, beauty, integrity, faith and generosity may be found in abundance – just not on TV;
- for the eternal perspective that comes from faith.
You get the drift. Feel free to take it from there. Use construction paper, if needed.
And just ignore those cynical fourth graders.