I don’t know how President Barack Obama or President-elect Trump are going to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. I suspect at some point there will be a moment of silence and maybe a bowed head. They have much to be thankful for, as do all of us.
Some people might believe that those elevated to the highest levels of fame and power, regardless of their discipline or profession, have more reasons for being thankful. I don’t think so. I believe that knowing what you have, even if it seems mundane to others, can create those moments where we are just as thankful. Giving my son and daughter a hug before I drop them off at school is something that I cherish. The same feeling exists after seeing my oldest son play football in college. And, if you have children or even if you do not, then you know precisely what I mean.
Each year I have sent a Thanksgiving Day message — this is my third — and I have constructed those messages around two themes. The first is that Thanksgiving Day is the greatest holiday for many because there’s no barrier — religion, ethnicity, social class — that prohibits you from celebrating it. The other theme is imbedded in the second part of the word Thanksgiving, the “giving” part should always be a part of your holiday. And even though you’re reading this before Thanksgiving, it might not be too late to invite someone who is alone to your home. (There’s also the leftover feasts during following days.)
Earlier, I alluded to the rich, famous and powerful. Allow me this perspective. A friend of mine, trying to expand my musical horizons, one Thanksgiving played for me a country western song by Tom T. Hall that was released one month before Thanksgiving Day in 1973. The title was “I Love” and one of the lyrics that stayed with me went like this: “I love honest, open smiles, kisses from a child, tomatoes on the vine and onions …” With its unpretentiousness lyrics, the essence of the song is that you can love and give thanks for the simplest things in life. If you’re the cynical type or if you feel like that tractor of misfortune has been plowing over your personal life, I have a small suggestion when you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Look to your left, look to your right and look across the table. I have a hunch that you will find a reason to be thankful. I certainly have. May you and your family be blessed with good food and good cheer this Thanksgiving season. That’s my take, what’s yours?