Turkeys, football, and construction paper imitations of pilgrim shoes and Indian headdresses, that’s where childhood’s Thanksgiving began. Oh childhood. Oh 1980s.
Then I learned about genetically modified turkeys that can’t reproduce naturally, the NFL’s racism problem, and the genocides upon which our nation was founded (not to mention the awfulness of white kids wearing formerly sacred symbols without a shred of comprehension).
And so Thanksgiving joins the ranks of topics with both pure and polluted sides, the responsibility to be informed and the zeitgeist task of figuring how to enjoy and be happy in the face of so much wrongness. Thanksgiving is a wonderful teacher for that task.
This year we had Thanksgiving on November 10th. Why not? I was with family, the season was changing around us, and we could sit down together to a meal anchored in gratitude at the blessings we have and the chance to be together.
In addition, it felt good to demonstrate that we can separate those things from the certified official day, as if we were somehow rejecting the endorsement of the religious extremists who slaughtered the people who saved them, and we’re expected to celebrate it forevermore. No, we were not celebrating Puritans or pilgrims, we were celebrating love and humble gratitude. That’s the holiday I seek. That’s the balance we found.
But what about the 28th? Will it be just the fourth Thursday of the month? Maybe. That would be fine. But if I’m lucky, I’ll have another celebration of love, community, gratitude, and awareness of the natural world that day. Or that Tuesday. Perhaps Saturday. Why should gratitude be fixed to one day? What use is a limit on expressions of connection, a delineation of which days to celebrate, a confinement of humble hedonism to government sanctioned hours?
All of the things I love about Thanksgiving are nourishment. To the heart, the soul, and yes, the stomach. So I want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. Last Sunday. Today. Thursday the 28th. Any day you feel like it. As the season shifts, may your head be mindful of privilege and past, your soul filled with awe and gratitude, and your heart full of love from all times.
Now where can I get a good turkey?