As O'Henry suggested almost a century ago, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American tradition reaching back almost four centuries.
Interestingly, the Pilgrims didn’t refer to the first Thanksgiving as a Day of Thanksgiving, that would have to wait until 1623 following a providential rain as it was the Pilgrim custom to celebrate a solemn Day of Thanksgiving whenever they were particularly blessed.
What we look to as the First Thanksgiving was a celebration and a grand feast lasting several days. You thought the Pilgrims were stodgy, but they dressed colorfully, sang, played games, and danced. Forget about that starchy, severe, black and white clothing that is the stock in trade of grade-school plays. You can forget about the buckles too, because they hadn't been invented yet.
There is much to be thankful for. Too few of us appreciate the accident of fate surrounding our birth. Instead of enjoying turkey or tamarind glazed pork, your family could be struggling this afternoon just to keep your meager belongings together while wandering down some bomb-cratered road in Afghanistan. Many of of us have overcome adversity. All of us believe that we can overcome adversity and thrive, but that's a lot easier to do in a stable, prosperous culture of plenitude.
Yeah, there's a recession on, but judging by the number of rigs, toy haulers, and the sheer volume of traffic headed out of town for the long holiday, it ain't 1933. Be grateful it isn't, my friends.
If you're still not feeling particularly blessed this Thanksgiving consider that the Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
Sure, this is a little Capra-esque, but just for a moment, think about the profound effect that your life has had upon those around you. The jobs you create, the gifts that you give, the time that you spend, the love that you share, and the essence of your being all produce a rippling effect that extends well past your own perception or appreciation of the enormity of what that really means.
I'll leave you with this thought from Harriet Beecher Stowe.....
The king and high priest of all the festivals was the autumn Thanksgiving. When the apples were all gathered and the cider was all made, and the yellow pumpkins were rolled in from many a hill in billows of gold, and the corn was husked, and the labors of the season were done, and the warm, late days of Indian Summer came in, dreamy, and calm, and still, with just enough frost to crisp the ground of a morning, but with warm traces of benignant, sunny hours at noon, there came over the community a sort of genial repose of spirit - a sense of something accomplished.
From Casa de las Rocas Grandes, may your Thanksgiving be everything you hoped it would be. A glass to your health and a wish for Kodak moments, all around.