Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday.
I also like Christmas a lot with its message of hope and joy. But the shopping and frenetic pace that begins in early fall and continues until late in the day of Christmas Eve has added a lot of stress to what should be mostly a peaceful celebration. The Fourth of July is always a welcome opportunity to ponder our country’s beginnings. I appreciate Memorial Day and a chance to remember the people who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. And Labor Day is a good reminder of the work ethic that built our railroads, bridges, roads and skyscrapers and continues to feed us from farms and ranches.
Fathers’ Day gives me a chance to revel in being a parent, and Mother’s Day allows me the opportunity to appreciate the efforts my mother and my wife have made to raise families. New Year’s Day mostly makes me depressed if I think too hard about all the things I failed to get done since the last one.
But Thanksgiving encourages me to think about all the things I should be grateful for. I admit I mostly spend the day over-indulging in a lot of those things I should be grateful for. I always eat too much. I do enjoy turkey. And my wife’s cornbread dressing is spectacular. Cranberry sauce is an under-appreciated treat that I usually eat only at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not sure why that is. And then there are the pies—pumpkin, sweet potato, mince meat, cherry and apple. Sometimes I contribute a pound cake to the dessert table.
I don’t move around a lot on Thanksgiving and typically watch football games that I don’t particularly care about, usually pulling for whoever is playing the Cowboys.
I can think of a lot of things I’m thankful for this year as I get ready for the holiday. Top of the list is my wife, Pat, who may not totally understand me—who does?—but makes allowances for my shortcomings and is appreciative of my few good points. I’m thankful for my children—Stacey and Nick—who have given me a lot of pride and laughter—some anxiety—and a purpose. I’m very appreciative of Aaron and Hunter, the world’s best grandsons who remind me that I used to be a kid and can still act like one. I’m thankful for parents who encouraged me to read and taught me to work,
I’m thankful for a career that I didn’t plan on but wouldn’t trade for anything else I can imagine. I’m truly thankful for the people I get to visit, interview, and just hang out with and who trust me to tell their stories. I am continually thankful for what they do every day to feed and clothe the rest of us.
I’m thankful that we live in a country that produces enough food to feed us all but am concerned that too many of us are not fed well enough.
I’m thankful to live in a country that allows us to choose who leads us. We may not always agree on who the best people for that job are, but we always have other opportunities to pick new ones.
I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made over the last few decades and wish I had more time to visit and catch up with those who are too far away.
I’m glad to be fairly healthy and mostly sane—though the latter assumption could be subject for debate.
I’m thankful that I have a comfortable home, good books to read, occasional opportunities to fish and family and friends to help me enjoy those blessings.
And I am pleased for the privilege of wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.