Holidays are steeped in tradition and ritual no matter what anyone would try to tell us. Sometimes the tradition and ritual stems from the nature of the holiday itself and sometimes it is borne from past experience. Even when we rebel and try to change, we inadvertently carry some of the tradition and ritual with us. Maybe it’s in the food we cook or the entertainment we seek, or with whom we share the holiday. If truth be told, there is comfort in tradition and ritual. Isn’t that what Fiddler on the Roof is all about?
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s expectation is so simple and so rewarding. It brings with it only one demand – to be be thankful! That’s little enough to ask of ourselves and yet I wonder how many of us actually take the time to think of all the things we have to be grateful for and to say, “thank you” before we plunge into our Thanksgiving Feasts?” I don’t mean just the heartfelt or even perfunctory pre-meal blessing. I’m talking about actually making a list to ponder, writing a note of thanks to a friend or acquaintance who has really touched our life, or reaching out and helping someone less fortunate who might need a hand right now. Until we are truly grateful for the good we already have, we won’t be fit to receive more. That’s a life lesson I’ve learned from friends and family that I genuinely admire.
Like you our Thanksgiving Day had its traditions and rituals yesterday, albeit different from past years. One of the things I have discovered in my “new found wisdom” is that no matter how much things change they remain the same at the core. Our family is ever evolving. What would one expect with five children and their four spouses, one “significant other” of our youngest, and nine grandchildren? Let’s not even mention that we’ve spread our family tent from San Francisco to Los Angles to Honolulu to London. Then you have to take into consideration that some of those wonderful grandchildren are teenagers and even in this era of MySpace and Facebook virtual worlds we can’t expect them to easily separate from their actual friends, can we? So our new tradition encompassed a smaller version of our old family Thanksgiving. There were only six of us. Our newly married daughter and her husband and two dear friends. There were lots of telephone calls all day, the same love, the same gratitude, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, the same good food, the football game, and the same reflective pillow talk as we slipped into bed at the end of the day. When Thanksgiving is in our heart then it’s all-inclusive no matter where we spend it.