[I thought this one was worth re-posting – especially since everyone else is so busy with their lives, probably no one will read it anyway! Regardless, I wish you all a very Happy (and peaceful) Thanksgiving. – The Curious Bloke]

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and I will – as will the majority of Americans – be sitting and stuffing my face with Turkey, dressing, appetizers, cranberry sauce, desserts, and more food than anyone could possibly swallow in one sitting (actually, it would most likely be more food than would feed a third-world country for a month). After all, that’s exactly what Thanksgiving Day is all about, right?

It’s also about friends and family – and arguments, and bickering, and throwing things at each other because you haven’t seen each other since last Thanksgiving’s brawl which you lost.

Let’s face it. The image of today’s Thanksgiving isn’t remotely like the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, no matter how hard we try. If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s probably more like the Simpsons.

But that doesn’t mean we need to lose the real focus of the holiday. Granted, it’s become festooned with parades with giant balloons, Santa and Mrs Claus to mark the start the Christmas shopping season, family squabbles, copious amounts of wine and hard liquor, and gluttony (did I miss anything?). These don’t create the real meaning, but are the frills to the real meaning of Thanksgiving Day. I’ll give you a hint – it’s in the name of the holiday itself: giving thanks.

For some, that will present its own set of problems – in order to give thanks for what we have, one needs to know to whom they are giving thanks. Those of us of any faith will generally answer immediately with God or The Creator or Mother Earth or some such. (I guess those of the atheistic bent would probably feel more comfortable giving thanks to Macy’s?)

In the old days, it used to be the tradition that everyone would get together with their families for dinner. The womenfolk (Yes, I said womenfolk! Binders of them!) would do the cooking, while the menfolk would sit in the parlor discussing politics while smoking their cigars and sipping their brandy. The holiday started as a day of giving thanks to God for what we’ve received over the past year – like a good harvest. Yet over the years it’s morphed into more of an eating fest where we see just how much we can eat in one sitting.

My childhood Thanksgiving memories always included a huge Turkey (oven roasted, of course; there were no deep fried Turkeys at that time), giblet gravy, stuffing, creamed dried corn, creamed chestnuts, cranberry/orange relish, endive with hot bacon dressing – and the list of dishes continued like a litany. My mother prepared for weeks to make sure everyone’s favorite dishes were there on the table (even if they were people who’d been dead for years). Till we actually got to dinner time, there was so much food on the table there was barely room enough for us to sit there to eat it. But it was fabulous (and so are the memories).

It remains true today that a lot of people use Thanksgiving as a day to get together with their families – a time to catch up. But families come in all shapes and sizes, and are no longer limited to blood. When we are born, we are given a blood family. But as we grow older, we consciously choose the family we want – sometimes (as with me) it still includes blood family members, but sometimes it is made up of the friends with whom we choose to spend our time, and the people who’ve come to know us as well (or better) than we know ourselves.

This is the beauty of Thanksgiving. This is, today, what we’re generally thankful for – family, friends, love. Because without love, there is nothing. Without the love of family (whether our blood family, or the one we choose for ourselves), we cannot do anything.

So for this Thanksgiving – whether you’re fighting or bickering with your family, eating until you’re ready to pop like an engorged tick, or watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – take a moment and realize that there are people in your life whom you love unconditionally, who love you unconditionally and utter a “thank you” to God, the Creator, or Mother Earth for them in your life. Because without them, there would be nothing else for which to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!