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Thursday, November 29, 2018


Memories. Flashback to Thanksgiving past….

My wife and I lingered over breakfast one cool morning a few days before Thanksgiving. We idly discussed everything and nothing.

            “I can’t believe it,” she exclaimed. “Thanksgiving Day is here already. Holidays sure have a way of creeping up on us when we are not paying attention.”

            “Yeah,” I agreed. “It’s crazy how quickly time passes when you’re our age.”

            “Oh hush!” she exclaimed. “Don’t remind me. Besides, I’m not getting old. Just mature.”

            Taking the hint and changing the subject I asked, “So, what are you thankful for?”

            “Oh, lots of things,” she teased with a twinkle in her eye. “Let’s see. I’m thankful I haven’t had a flat tire in years, especially when I’m alone.”

I saw my opening and took it. “I’ll say. Especially at night in January with the wind blowing and no cars on the road.”

            “Stop joshing,” she counseled. “I am thankful for the little things in life. Here’s another one. I was just thinking the other day that I’m mighty thankful I learned to type way back in high school. Typing skills sure made it easy for me when computers came along.”

            “Boy, I’m thankful you learned how to type, too. Wasn’t it great that you got to type all my college term papers?”

            Her toe banged against my shin. I gave her a mocked grimace and mimicked groaned.

            “Whadya do that for?”

            “Stop being silly when I’m trying to be serious.”

            “You sound like my mother.”

            “Well, stop acting like her son!” Pouting wasn’t an option, but I was tempted.

Our cat, Lucky Lady, interrupted. She rubbed against my shin, looked up and meowed. “Look. She’s thankful for a fresh can of turkey and giblets.”

I moved my leg to the side of the chair as my wife eyed me uncharitably.

            “Okay, Smarty, let me ask you this,” she said. “Can a person celebrate Thanksgiving without religious overtones? I mean, doesn’t giving thanks imply someone to whom thanks is given? Like God, for example.”

            “Sure, I guess so. Certainly there are ways and means to celebrate Thanksgiving without being overtly religious. I’m sure it happens all the time.”

            “How so?” she asked.

            “Well, first of all, anyone can sit down and feast themselves silly without being religious. Eating is an American pastime. Any excuse for a party.”

By now I was feeling mildly philosophical with an unconstrained impulse to wax eloquent. I offered my considered opinion. “I suppose that a lot of folks might feel appreciative this time of year. A person can be grateful without being religious, you know. All it takes is an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful for your lot in life, I suspect, comes natural. After all, for most of us, things could be worse. Just knowing we don’t have it so bad is what really counts.”

            “Is that what really counts?” she queried. “Comparing ourselves to other folks’ lot in life and finding that we have it better?”

            “Hmmm. That’s not what I meant,” I said. “I mean we should be grateful.”

            “Clarify, please. You mean grateful for something or grateful to someone? It seems to me that the act of being thankful is interactive. One Person gives and another person receives.”

I couldn’t believe it. She was out philosophizing me!

We were quiet for a while contemplating each other’s words.

My wife broke the silence first. “What am I thankful for? I’ll tell you what I am thankful for,” she exclaimed. “I’m sure thankful I went to school fifty years ago. At least I received a reasonably accurate account of the Thanksgiving story unvarnished before the political correctness and identity politics hogwash took hold.”


Dennis M. Patrick can be contacted at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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