The mild temperatures, the shorter days, the crunchy red and orange leaves on the ground, the trees almost bare in my backyard are all signaling the seasonal change. Fall is my favorite time of the year, and I always wish that it had lasted longer. On a more positive note, it’s a happy feeling just to think about the festive spirit that fills the air starting late November. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and close on its heels will come Christmas with its tags of music, love, and laughter. The evergreen classic song penned by Edward Pola and George Wyle couldn’t have described the setting any better. It really is “the most wonderful time of the year!”
Being first generation residents in the United States, I got to know about the Thanksgiving holiday celebration only after coming to this country. Its history dates back to 1621 when the Pilgrims who came to Plymouth had their first feast, to offer thanks for a good harvest that followed a year of hardships after they came to a new land in search of religious freedom and prosperity. A friend explained, “Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans casserole, baked corn, pumpkin pie, the list for the feast goes on.” I also learned about Black Friday, the morning after Thanksgiving when unimaginably good shopping deals flood the stores. I have observed Thanksgiving thereafter, and as I near the 25th year of celebration, it’s a moment for silent reflection.
What excites me the most about Thanksgiving? Is it the feast? I wouldn’t lie that I have always prepared elaborate meals. My menu does not have a whole lot of entrées. As much as I love cooking, roasting a turkey is not my favorite task; I think it’s one of the most laborious jobs.
I do enjoy shopping, but I’m miles away from the class that believes in retail therapy. In 25 years, it was just once that I stood in the line on a Black Friday morning. The experience was awful because having rushed out without my coffee, I kept yawning and grumbling and finally returned home with nothing. Since then, I had vowed not to step out to shop in the wee hours.
I think Thanksgiving means a lot more than fancy family dinners; it embodies a much nobler ideal than being a forerunner to the holiday bonanza. It’s the philosophy around which Thanksgiving evolved that gives the festival a pristine beauty that surpasses all material endowments. It’s the time to count our blessings and be thankful for all what we have. It makes a big difference in our lives when we shed aside our grudges and grievances and instead appreciate the graces and loveliness we have been showered with. A thought that sounds rather clichéd, but we can never deny that it’s the feeling of love and brotherhood that makes the world go round. So let’s make a wish before every Thanksgiving that empathy and compassion be kindled in us, and that the winter frost not freeze our hearts!
A quote I read makes me ponder, “Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace.” Galloping fast in my mid-life journey, I look back in retrospect to the bygone years, and flipping through the pages from the past, I evaluate my days. What am I thankful for? The list can never be exhaustive, yet I jot down a few. I am grateful for: the smiles that have outlived the tears, the days of good health that have made me forget the bad, the circle of genuine friends that have towered high above the fake acquaintances, and a big loving family that has helped me make a house my home!
Wishing you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!