Here it is, the day before the BIG day, the eve of the day we all actually plan to eat far too much food and lie around on the softest pieces of furniture we own, all while watching grown men in tight pants beat each other up on fake grass to get a pigskin ball. Oh, and the parade! Let's not forget that we also watch giant "balloons" and floating stages in a parade with too much commentary. And why do we do this every year? Got a minute?
Okay, so a very long time ago, some oddly-dressed ancestors who had come to this slab of land we call America in a big boat (or several) decided for one day after the Autumn harvest to practice what they preached - and they put aside their differences with the Indigenous Americans (they weren't in India, by the way) and shared a day of "Thanks Giving" for all their God (or Spirits, if you are one of the Indigenous Americans) had blessed them with to survive the coming winter months. Just gives us the warm, fuzzy feeling we look forward to all year.
Well, that is the watered-down version of the story anyway, the one we actually want to hear so that we can continue to celebrate what is actually said to have begun as a victory party following the horrible massacres of innocent men, women, and children that took place so frequently that President Washington finally suggested we just celebrate once per year rather than after every killing spree. Got any warm fuzzies now? Me, neither.
Tomorrow, when you sit down at the table to pig out with family and friends, take just a moment of your day to recognize the lives lost at the hands of the people we celebrate once a year. And celebrate instead that we, as a nation, have been blessed, and that we, as a people, can neither ignore nor repair the damage done. But in learning from the past, we can endeavor to never repeat such genocide.
The food is wonderful, and I wouldn't suggest we give it up. The parade is beautiful, and we should enjoy the wonder of it with our family and friends. And football... well, okay, I could do without football, but I think my husband's head might explode if he had to endure an entire day with all these people crammed together without the solace of football! But isn't it about more than all that?
This year, I thank God that I am free to speak openly about my beliefs, that I am free to disagree with my governmental authority (unless the investigation of "Joe the Plumber" gets pervasive), that I am free to educate my children at home, and mostly, that I am free to worship my God.
What do you give thanks for this year?