Giving Thanks For All The Joys Of Life…
Every year here in the United States, the fourth Thursday of November rolls around and we know it’s time for Thanksgiving. In U.S. schools, we are taught the history of Thanksgiving: in September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers seeking religious freedom and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity in the “New World”.
In this new world of North America, the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of Native American allies which is now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”.
Today, here in the U.S., we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Thanksgiving is probably the most preeminent family day of the year. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday, could arguably also be the busiest travel day of the year as people traveling from all over the globe make the trek to that destined place where the family will gather to celebrate the festivities of the day. For many, it is their favorite holiday of the entire year!
However, along with all the festivities, there is the backdrop of family dynamics. We gather in this one spot with many personalities at play. Families embody different generations, different occupations, different social status, different world views, different religions, different politics and different temperaments. But yet, we all gather on this special day to reconnect our bonds to one another.
As some of us look forward to this occasion, some of us also dread the tensions this day brings. For instance, there is Aunt Madge who always inquires about when you will get married and have some kids. Or Uncle Charlie who not only thinks he knows everything on every subject but also thinks he’s right about everything and invariably, he dominates the conversations with his overbearing presence. You just sit there, grin and bare it.
When you do try to change the conversation, wouldn’t you know it; Uncle Charlie is an expert on that topic as well.
What do you do? You can’t just pick up and leave. That wouldn’t be fair to your mother and father who are hosting this Thanksgiving dinner or to your other family members and friends whom you truly do enjoy and want to be with. So, you try to avoid Uncle Charlie as much as possible but he’s going to be there, no getting around it.
The situation is bad enough before he starts imbibing alcohol but once he does, he almost becomes intolerable. He doesn’t get drunk but even just a little alcohol loosens him up along with his tongue. He is freer with his unfiltered thoughts and uninvited advice about your life. This is not only uncomfortable for me but others are squirming in the chairs as well.
However, you look at Uncle Charlie and you remember the time when you were stuck on the freeway after a car accident. You were not seriously injured but shaken. Your car had to be towed. You called your mother to inform her of what had transpired and your sister called your family to let them know what had happened. Seemingly, out of the blue in minutes, Uncle Charlie was there to pick you up and take you home.
This was not the first time Uncle Charlie came to your rescue. You remember when you lost your job and was behind in the rent. Uncle Charlie, caught you up on your rent and made sure you had a full three months of rent covered! He looked you straight in the eyes and said, “ you’ll get another position, you’re too talented for something even better to not come your way.” He said it with such firm sincerity and kindness that you believed him.
This was the kind and generous Uncle Charlie unlike the opinionated man standing here today.
This is life and in life, there are going to be many opinionated Uncle Charlies without the benefit of being a blood relative and you have to learn how to deal with them as you navigate your way through life. In times such as Thanksgiving when you are with him, your heart remembers the kind, helpful Uncle Charlie and you accept the whole of who he is, faults and kindness. Some day, there will be no Uncle Charlie and the thought makes you sad.
The truth is that family is family no matter good or bad; it just is.
So when we’re giving thanks and making our family toast on Thanksgiving Day, I am truly thankful for all of my family, these special times, and of course when we say, “let’s eat!”
written by: ~from the Harte 🤜🏽⚡🤛🏽
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Thanksgiving History by History.com Editors
Website URL: https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving
Publisher: A&E Television Networks