It’s turkey day again. The family is coming in, save for son who is travelling in the former Soviet Union, mainly Moscow. We will miss him as the family gathers in for our annual Thanksgiving Day weekend. It has always been a Brodsky weekend in this house, so my father, sister, and two nieces will join Saul, our daughters, a friend or two, and me.
Sound typical? Oh, yes! Sound mundane? Oh, yes! Sound exciting? Only if you make it so.
Year after year, the same faces, the same menu, the same going around the table and telling everyone your special sense of gratitude (my corny custom that they all moan and groan about, but no turkey gets on the table until I am satisfied that at least they all tried!) But it is precisely this comforting sameness that provides the cocoon of safety that allows us to all just sit back and share our year’s challenges and triumph, our hopes and our dreams.
These conversations are sprinkled with a few choice words of political, religious or “what to do tomorrow” dissent. It’s all in the mix.
I love Thanksgiving. I love the Macy’s TG Day Parade. I love the way the house smells. And I love that first bite of turkey. I love the random conversations. And I especially love the movies we watched from last year and the year before.
I love that all Americans can partake in this celebration of gratitude for all that is good in our lives. And even with a recession, two wars, and unpredictable times, the constancy of this one day when we all look inwards for that special feeling of gratitude (before getting down to the marathon of football games), is comforting. I even manage to overcome my sense of despair when I look at all the plates, the pots and the pans in need of washing. Not to mention the mountains of leftover food to be eaten for the next week or more.
Gratitude is considered a cornerstone for emotional health. When we count our blessings we undergo significant positive biological change. And when we express our gratitude, we block out the desires for many things that are probably not all that important.
So as you sit at whatever table you find yourself, remember, be grateful for what you have, and sometimes for what you don’t have. What you are, who you are, who you love, and who loves you is probably more than enough to be grateful for on this wonderfully American holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!