Thanksgiving is a celebration of three of my four favorite “F” words. Food, family, and football. Its the only remaining holiday that remains true to its original spirit. In 1621 fifty-three Pilgrims and ninety Native-Americans threw a three day feast to celebrate their first harvest in the New World and to thank the Wampanoag tribe for helping them survive their first winter. There is no associated fairy tale or mythical gift giver. Just a bunch of people happy to be alive and appreciative of those that helped them stay that way.
I believe the ability to appreciate what one has to be one of the most important defining characteristics of a person. It’s the difference between a person at peace and someone constantly seeking different means of finding elusive happiness.
I’m wiling to concede the point that they probably didn’t play football and nobody is thankful for having to watch the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys every year, but no holiday is going to be completely perfect.
I’ll also concede the point that these are easy statements for me to make. I grew up in a small town with great friends and a great family. I have a nice house, a good job, and love my wife and kids. Every morning I’m woken up by an angel.
I’m appreciative of all this. I’m grateful. I find it hard to find sympathy for those that aren’t.
I also know that none of this is guaranteed. That it can all be taken from me in an instant.
Tomorrow this table will be full of food and family. My brother will be here with his wife and three-year-old twins. My parents and mother-in-law. It’s not unusual for us to have a few surprise guests as the day goes on. Jack Johnson music will be playing and the games will be on mute.
A few chairs will be conspicuous by their emptiness. Two years ago around this time my wife lost her step-father. It doesn’t appear as if the teenager will be coming home.
But the four-year-old is excited. She loves company and loves seeing her family. We’ll look to her example. We’ll eat, drink, laugh, exchange news and tell stories. We’ll celebrate our good fortunes.
We’ll be thankful.
A version of this post was previously published on ThirstyDaddy and is republished here with permission from author.
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