We have gone to a certain Uncle’s home for decades. Over the years, our family has gained and lost members, but steadily it has grown to almost 100 people showing up in the same house! It is traditional, with the Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, etc. It is slightly modified for the vegetarians. It includes haggis for a few. (Bleah!)
Because we come from a farmer’s family, the tradition included the men sitting around patting their stomachs after a full meal, while the women did the dishes. (Times have slightly changed. But not much.) And we would eat pie; drink coffee. The children would retire to the upstairs TV to watch movies. (We didn’t own a TV, so this was a big treat.)
The men would retire to the living room to watch the Detroit Lions. Year after year after year.
Then one year my uncle placed a note on the Television. “Sorry. Broke.” No Lions. Instead we talked or played games. Toward the end of the evening, someone noticed the problem—the Television had come unplugged. Turns out the TV worked just fine—my uncle thought it was time we actually talked to each other, rather than waste the few moments we got together as a family, all stupefied--listening to beer commercials and sports announcers.
Another uncle was furious. So furious, in fact, he has never returned to Thanksgiving, and it has probably been 15 years or so.
We discovered is that we really didn’t miss the Lions. See, we can watch football for dozens of Sundays during the Autumn Season. But we only get together as a family for one small afternoon on a blustery November day. Despite the tradition, despite what we thought was ingrained legend—it seems we did NOT need to watch a few more hours of television on this particular day. Now if someone turned the TV on, it would seem odd indeed.
Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It isn’t Christian. It isn’t Catholic. It doesn’t require protests or constitutional challenges as to the type of displays allowed in front of governmental buildings. It is families and friends setting aside some time to spend with each other.
For those who are enjoying American Thanksgiving tomorrow; wherever you are and whoever you are with, make sure you utilize those precious moments wisely. Because by the time you are eating Turkey sandwiches—they are gone. Don’t look back with regret; rather recall with overflowing joy as to the abundance squeezed out of each second.