The big holiday is coming up. It’s one of my favorite times of year. I love the feel of time off from work to be home with family. I love the leisurely way the day passes. If it’s cold enough, a fire in the fireplace. Nibbling on food coming out of the kitchen.
Thanksgiving really is the perfect reminder of what it means to be grateful. You look beyond your losses. You see past all your disappointments. You count your blessings in spite of your worries. You take stock of every little touch of grace in your life, and you say “Thanks.”
It’s not always easy, but you know deep down it’s the only way to approach life that makes sense.
It’s written somewhere that we should “give thanks in all circumstances.” Not just the good ones. Not just when it’s the fourth Thursday in November. Not only when things are going well, and we feel like it.
Sometimes that means we have to dig deep. For certain it means that the reasons to be grateful are not always evident. But behind every heartache, hiding in every crisis, within every tear, there is hope. And there is grace. And there is the possibility that we can find a reason to give thanks.
I had a crazy idea to try something goofy. I’m not forcing you to read any further. If I were you, I’d quit right here. I have no idea where this came from inside my head, but here’s a little something just for you. If nothing else, you can be thankful that I promise never to do this again.
Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the store,
The coolers were packed with turkeys galore.
The fowl of the feast all neat and stacked with care,
Butterball and Honeysuckle, frozen and waiting there.
The cooks in the kitchen were checking their stock
Counting off recipes by the tick of the clock.
Whipped cream and pecans and pumpkins for pie,
Cornbread for dressing, I tell you no lie.
Mama in her apron and me by her side,
Watching her chop and stir, I’m along for the ride.
When all of a sudden, she stopped dead in her track,
“I’m all out of flour, I’ll be right back.”
She called to her children and called them by name,
“Come Danny, come Sandy, now Thomas and Sue;
Come Johnny, come Ruthie, come each one of you.
Button your coats, to the store we must go,
Put on your boots and don’t tell me no.”
Packed in the van and all buckled in,
“Show me a smile,” she says. “Show me a grin.
We’re off to the store and a stop by the mall,
Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all.”
Back at the house, we all settle down,
Sandy and Ruthie wearing a frown.
Gizzards and giblets lay diced on the board,
“Help us,” they pray. “Help us, Lord.”
The pots and pans all scattered about,
The smells in the air were leaving no doubt.
Turkey in the oven and a pie on the shelf,
I could hardly wait or contain myself.
All through the night, I tossed in my bed,
While visions of cake batter danced in my head.
Beaters to lick and bowls to scrape,
You take the turkey; I’ll take the cake.
When morning arrived, I rose to a clatter,
I went to the kitchen to see what’s the matter.
There in a heap, right by the door
Lay our poor turkey flat on the floor.
Dad in his slippers, scooped up the bird,
Back on the platter without one single word.
“Don’t tell your mother, it will all be just fine,
The flight of the turkey will be your secret and mine.”
One by one, the family did come,
Everyone was here, all but one.
Uncles and Aunts and a cousin or two,
Aunt Bessie stayed home, fighting the flu.
The house all a-buzz, the table all set
Preparations complete, no time to fret.
Cranberries and dressing and corn casserole,
Sweet potato soufflé, giblet gravy on the stove.
Fall in the air with leaves on the ground,
Blessings, Oh blessings, sweet blessings abound.
The yard full of cousins tossing a ball
“Come on in,” Mama says. “We’re ready for y’all.”
We gather around, each in our place,
Smiles ear to ear on each single face.
Children at a table all their own,
Grownups together, Dad by his throne.
Each head bows, while Dad says the prayer,
Words of thanks that fill the air.
“I’m thankful for family, for friends and this day,
I’m thankful for everything that comes our way.”
The bowls were passed that filled each plate,
Forks at work the more we ate.
Buckles were loosened and buttons undone.
“Who wants pie?” “I’ll take one.”
Thanksgiving will come, and Thanksgiving will go,
Are we more grateful? Who’s to know.
Tis the season for gratitude, a time to give back
A time for reflection and a time for a nap.
But one thing’s for sure, that I’ll never tell,
My lips have been sealed, all too well.
Dad dropped the turkey, you didn’t hear it from me,
As far as I know there was nothing to see.
Y’all have a great Thanksgiving week. Wear your stretch pants. Play in the leaves with the kids. Be nice to your weird Uncle.