Perhaps the person most responsible for the establishment of Thanksgiving as a permanent national holiday was Boston magazine editor Sarah Hale, who engineered an editorial campaign spanning four decades (1820-1860) with the sole purpose and intent of bludgeoning the federal government into commemorating, on a permanent basis, a Day of Thanksgiving. It worked, thus proving that persistence pays off and casting a bit of doubt on the notion that 19th Century women were uniformly barefoot, pregnant, and helpless.
Like Ms. Hale, the Wine Commonsewer delights in this simple and eminently gracious day. Thanksgiving is a monumental part our common American heritage and it ranks in the 100th percentile of all of the most excellent special days of the year.
We are a relatively free and prosperous people with perhaps the most open, tolerant, and diverse culture the world has known. It is right to give thanks for the blessings we have, to gather with our families and our friends, and to break bread and share wine in the marvelous tradition that has been bestowed upon us by our forebears.
It is also right to be thankful that an accident of our birth finds us a relatively safe table in almost any outdoor cafe in America. Contrast that with the uncontrollable and near-constant threat facing many of the civilized peoples of the rest of the world every time they venture past the threshold for something as simple as an evening out with friends.
Beyond that, with all that it implies, it is altogether appropriate to recognize that much of our individual success results from the freedom we have to make rational decisions that better our lives and those of our families. As we offer our thanks today, we would also do well to remember that in cultures of oppression and hatred few have heard of Thomas Jefferson and most are so culturally immersed that the concepts of liberty, tolerance, and freedom have little or no meaning.
Sometimes I have more to say but I guess not today, so please indulge me as I close with this thought. Regardless of whether you are eating tamales, turkey, or tamarind spiced roast pork please take a moment or two to reflect on the blessings that have come your way. Don’t underestimate the powerful and profound effect that your life has had upon those around you either. As trite (and yet popular) as It’s a Wonderful Life might seem, the jobs you create, the gifts that you give, the time that you spend, and the essence of your being all produce a rippling effect that extends well beyond your own perception or appreciation of the enormity of what that really means.
I'll get some emails claiming that's just New-Age crap tossed in a blender with old-style Hippie Pyscho-Babble, but that isn't what it is. It's an uncomplicated recognition of the effect that each of us has on the rest of the world while simply going about the business of living.
On another note, I am grateful to my clients for providing me with a way to earn a living in an agreeable way. I am grateful also, to all those others; friends, family, and gentle readers who take the time to drop by the website every so often. Thank you for your friendship, your love, and your kindness.
From Casa de las Rocas Grandes, may your Thanksgiving be exactly the kind of day that timeless memories are made of.