We often like to trace our Thanksgivings to the Pilgrims of the early 17th century.
We might envision them dining with the Americans who lived here when the Mayflower dropped anchor and without whom that early settlement might well have failed. Some of the depictions show the Pilgrims in their finery and the natives lightly dressed — even in November in Massachusetts.
Regardless of how inaccurate or how romanticized such notions are, they nevertheless set an appropriate tone. Who doesn’t want to share good food and good times — maybe even celebrate a harvest — with family, friends and neighbors?
That’s often easier said than done. Families are scattered and loved ones in uniform often are overseas. What’s more, as the hurried pace of the season seems to envelop us, it can be difficult to tap the brakes and simply enjoy being together.
Yet because it’s Thanksgiving, we try. We invite loved ones over or we visit them, and in houses filled with wonderful aromas, we get caught up with one another’s lives, we laugh again over old stories and we marvel at how much — or how little — those with us have changed.
If the more athletically inclined don’t head outside to toss a football, they find a game on TV. Others compile and compare Christmas shopping lists and plot strategy for Black Friday or, if they can’t wait, get the jump on that adventure after Thanksgiving dinner. We prefer to leave the shopping for another day, partly out of respect for holiday tradition and partly because we prefer hunting for the right presents, not racing to them.
However we spend this day, we would be remiss not to pause, in private or with others around the dinner table, to take note of some of our blessings. Those blessings include the company with whom we share this day, the food and drink we enjoy and any number of other people or things. Among items on a short list are the emergency personnel who stand ready to protect us in this community and the men and women on military installations in this country and other lands who protect not just our safety but our way of life.
And although we often take it for granted, our way of life, too — not just our rights as Americans but also the opportunities we have to improve our lot and that of our fellow citizens — is an incredible blessing.
We hope you and your loved ones have a happy Thanksgiving.