Thank goodness it’s Thanksgiving. This week marks the 83rd anniversary of the very first Thanksgiving celebration, which took place in a wooded area just north of Tupelo, Okla. On that very first Thanksgiving day, a group of new immigrants from a far-off land called Iowa settled down to a feast with a group of natives known simply as The People Not From Iowa.
That first group of grateful souls sat down to a communal meal of turkey, ham, squirrel, instant mash potatoes, cranberry Jell-O (which even then, nobody ate) and pecan pie topped with Cool Whip. After everyone filled their bellies from the bountiful harvest, the attendees of that first Thanksgiving sat down to say a word of thanks to the creator. They were thankful for a land of freedom, plenty of clothes to wear, and that ”Keeping Up with the Kardashians” had not been invented yet.
Today, we continue the tradition of sitting down one day each year to say ”thanks” for all the good stuff we’ve been given (and for all the specials we can pick up on Black Friday). This year, I am thankful for so much and I hope you are too.
Here is my Top 5 List of Things I’m Thankful For (or, for those strict grammarians ”Things For Which I am Thankful”).
1. My family — My family is special and dear to me. Together we have been through a lot of thick and thin and in the end, we still have each other. Every day I realized how blessed I am for my wife, my son, my daughter, my daughter-in-law, and my granddog, Lola the Bullpup Princess. My wife is more than just my soulmate. She is my best friend, my coach, my cheerleader, my voice of reason and my rationer of Twinkies.
My kids make me so proud every day. They are hard-working and want to do whatever it takes to be happy and successful. And Lola the bullpup is basically perfect.
2. The land of freedom — I live in one of the greatest countries in the world. We have our problems, for sure, but America is still the land of opportunity. As I read news stories of war, famine and disease from all around the world, I’m glad I live in a place where those problems are scarce among a people trying hard to make it scarce in those other places too.
3. The presidential race is over — The presidential race of 2012 seemed to last about 423 years. I appreciate the importance of democracy in action as we elect our leader, but the endless debate and arguing and name-calling and all-out nastiness of the election season almost makes me want to move to a foreign country like New Hampshire. Almost. I do, however, look forward to the race in 2016, which started this past weekend.
4. Beauty in the world — Sometimes in our fast-paced world it’s hard to stop and see beauty all around. This past year I had the opportunity to see the beach, to see flowers in bloom, to watch butterflies skitter about while collecting pollen and watch the leaves turn to autumn colors before falling to the ground. I heard beautiful music and looked at wonderful art. I heard stories and laughter and grateful utterances. Mankind has been given a beautiful place to spend our existence. This year I want to experience even more beauty and, quite possibly, even create some of my own.
5. Twinkies — This year has been hard on Twinkies and snack cakes in general. Many people are blaming the American obesity problem on Twinkies. And they are probably right. But I am thankful for all the Twinkies I ate as a kid and the few thousand I’ve had as an adult (mostly this year).
Now Hostess brands, the makers of Twinkies and Ding Dongs is working with a bankruptcy court to liquidate its assets and get out of the snack cake business. It’s a sad day indeed, but there’s no need to focus on the sadness. I believe it’s a time of looking back and remembering the good times we had with that creme-filled goodness.
Honestly, I hope everyone remembers to be grateful, not just this one day each year but every day, every year. Some of the most important words we can utter are ”I love you” and ”thanks.” They are simple and powerful.
I am also thankful for you, dear reader. I hope this holiday season brings you everything you need to be happy and successful. I love you almost as much as Twinkies.