It is early morning the day before Thanksgiving. It will be a busy day, and it seems like we really need a plan. But actually, it is more fun without a plan. I am in favor of toodling our way towards Thanksgiving, just doing things as they come to mind.
"Turkey. Oh yeah. I guess we will do that in the morning. Are we having that stupid green bean casserole again? Do we have any beans?"
In our hearts, we know that no one cares. If we have turkey, potatoes and dressing -- everything else is superfluous. People will eat whatever is plopped on the table.
The notion of Thanksgiving is pretty cool. We like to buy into the myth that we are celebrating the Pilgrim/Indian thing, but really we just appreciate getting a couple of days off work and all sitting together for a meal. There is something comforting about traditions. They give us a base, a root, that tells us that everything is all right.
The idea that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks is something to consider. We give homage to this concept just prior to sitting down to dine. We stand around the table and hold hands. The idea is that everyone, in order, is provided the opportunity to say something...anything they want to say. When a person is finished talking, they squeeze the hand of the next person. No one is required to say anything and if they choose not to speak, they simply squeeze the next persons hand. Sometimes the comments come in the form of a prayer, but mostly they are statements about the stuff they are thankful for, both silly stuff and important stuff. I always pay attention to the tone as the words progress around the table. If it becomes thoughtful and somber, I will change the mood. I am always the last one and traditionally end with a prayer of Thanksgiving. So I will break up the reflective aura by praying in thanks for something silly -- like marshmallows that always seem to rest more or less burnt and crusty over a bowl of sweet potatoes. If there are no chuckles at this point I press home the notion that no one knows where marshmallows come from so I am on a search for the elusive marshmallow tree. I could continue on talking about how alligators love marshmallows, and this is a fact. Sometimes we rent a cabin with a porch hanging over a lake and the 'gaters always come to greet us so we pitch marshmallows to them and they go crazy eating them. The point is to get a chuckle so I can then finish the prayer in a traditional way and everyone sits to eat in a light and comfortable mood.
This short pre-meal interlude sets the tone. The overall message is: 'We like each other and are pleased to be here together'.
So Thanksgiving is not a big deal, but it is a neat deal. It is kind of the antithesis of every day which is a complaining day. Sometimes we have to search for something to be thankful about, especially when the bills are piling high and the economy always seems to be sputtering and we are tired and worn out and nothing seems to work right. We get used to complaining and griping and getting irate -- it has become a way of life these days. So it is neat to just stop and take a breath and think about something good...like the marshmallow.
May you have fun searching for your marshmallow tree this Thanksgiving.
Thank you for being you.