What Thanksgiving Means To Me

Tomorrow is the date when we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, and by those who serve our country in distant lands across the world. Whether we agree or disagree with the politics of what places U.S. Service Members overseas, we must remember that they are separated from family and friends during a time of traditional reunion. I extend my thanks to them for their sacrifice and service.

What does Thanksgiving mean to me? Turkey, all the trimmings, football games on television, seeing Uncle Whazzisname but once a year? Nope….

Thanksgiving was created in America to give thanks for the fall harvest and to share the bounty with family, friends, and neighbors. There is quite a history of this major national holiday (see it here). Feeding neighbors is the foundation of American Thanksgiving, as the first Thanksgiving was in 1621 when the Pilgrims held the first feast for themselves and their Native American neighbors.

Flash forward to 2011… here we are, feeding neighbors with the bountiful delights of a pot-luck harvest with and for my senior pals.

Customarily, most families try to reunite with each other on this holiday. However, such reunions are also a focus for Christmas, just one month away. Most of my senior pals who live alone cannot afford to travel to visit children who live far away on both holidays so close together on the calendar. The reverse is true, as well — children have trouble getting time off work and/or school to come home for Thanksgiving.

That leaves a situation of many seniors being alone on Thanksgiving. I just can’t abide that. To make a sad situation much more happy, we invite friends (and friends-of-friends and friends-of-friends-of-friends) who otherwise would be alone on this holiday to join us. Over four three-hour “shifts” throughout the day, about 100 of our friends come by, bearing some of the harvest — a dish for four. Their contribution may include vegetables, breads, appetizers, and — of course — pies, pies, pies. What would Thanksgiving be without apple and pumpkin pie? And don’t forget the cranberry sauce (though hardly anyone eats the stuff LOL!)

All I do is cook four farm-raised fresh turkeys (two ovens, two days.) Ten of my sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews set out a grand buffet and we all munch, graze, or otherwise “partake.” We sing silly songs around the piano, root for whatever team is playing football (if one cares to watch the TV in the media room), or chat with each other in more quiet areas of the house (or weather-permitting, out on one of the decks.)

What does Thanksgiving mean to me? It is a time to share the joy of bonds of long-term friendship and love with great people who form the net who sustain my soul. It is a time for me to thank my family and friends for their caring concern and love extended throughout the year. It is a time to remember happy memories of times gone by, people we love, and things we have done with and for each other. It truly is… a time of smiles and great joy in sharing God’s blessings.

Personally, I have one more important thing that Thanksgiving means to me: it is a time when I give many thanks to my partner for his steadfast support, love, strength, determination, and for being my “best half, partner through life.”

So while my partner will work behind the scenes tomorrow, doing what he does best — listening to stories that seniors wish to share — I’ll be circulating among all, sitting with each one, taking a moment to hold his or her hand, look into her or his eyes, and say with sincerity, “thank you — for your love, support, and caring.”

This is what Thanksgiving means to me. A time to extend my sincere thanks to my family, my friends, and to you, my loyal blog followers. Thank you for caring enough to read my daily ramblings. And for those of you with whom I have built a friendship, thanks for your kindness, warmth-of-heart, and humor. I appreciate it!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Life is short: show those you love how you love them.