Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.
I think because it is the day specifically set aside for me (and everyone else celebrating) to really take a look inside of ones-self and reflect on what a blessed life the great majority of us do have, and how many would give their last crumb of bread, or coin, or deepest secret to have what you and I have, even with all of it's flaws.
As a causality of divorce Thanksgiving sometimes ended up being a battle ground for "who's turn is it to have the kids this Thanksgiving." Luckily, for some odd reason, I remember more Thanksgivings with my Dad's side of the family, with all of my aunt's and uncle's and cousin's and my Step-mother's family, than my step-dad's side.
The food was as plentiful as the Whiskey Sour's at the Grama Lewis Thanksgiving's, and as a close family of a many divorces, we were all happy to get together and spend the whole day catching up on where our lives had taken us, realizing with each word how thankful each of us really were in our lives just in having the chance to be together.
And of all the Thanksgiving's I have had in my life, one stands out, hand over fist, as the most authentic Pilgrim and Indian gathering ever.
It was 1986, my cousin Mj and I lived in a small house together on the Reservation, and as fate would have it her significant other,Ter, is Indian, so having a gathering of diverse people, in our little house situated in Indian Territory was not out of the ordinary.
It was a one-of-a-kind Thanksgiving, never to happen again.
I only have one picture of that day.
I don't know what happened to the rest of them. I'm guessing someone has them stashed under their bed in a box somewhere.
But this one speaks volumes.
We were having a great time cooking that first dinner, it was a feast.
The house was small and packed full of family, both the Indian and White side. An not one person noticed. It was a blessing to be color blind. The food was so amazing for our first big meal, and I distinctly remember some fry-bread and beans and a some corn soup, along with that turkey and gravy and all the fixings.
The top-notch company, the smell of good food, the thankfulness of being together, it made the day perfect. And today, If we could have everyone back at the table for dinner this afternoon from that day, this Thanksgiving would be complete.
It would put Normal Rockwell's Thanksgiving painting to shame.
Our Grandma Lewis and her boyfriend Chick would be there, and my Grandma Lockwood on my mom's side, my Great Aunt Grace, (who was everyone's Great Aunt). Wellington with his enormous grin and constant joking and, Carol, Ter's mom, who I am sure brought something sweet to eat, and Ter's sister Diane and my mom, Betzi.
That is the toll life has dealt us since 1986. All of these wonderful, special, funny, smiling people gone; all too soon and much too quickly.
And that is why I love remembering that Thanksgiving.
It was the one time we were truly all happy together, and we were all in the same house. I think that is why I have protected this picture for all of these years, because, frankly, I need to remember what a wonderful time we had that day.
Though the foggy memory I am sure that we had visitor's all day long, native and white, eating together, laughing together, sharing old memories and the anticipation of times yet to come.
We soaking up the happy and the thankful all day long. And after it was over it was talked about for weeks to come. It showed that no matter the race, we are all here to live together, harmoniously, peacefully, just like the First Thanksgiving.
So today remember that there is always, always something to be Thankful for; waking up to say thank you should be first on the list. And those past memories of Thanksgiving with those who have left us, they are there for a reason.
Enjoy and be Thankful in those memories.
Make sure to add the memories of today along with them, anytime with family is worth the effort of holding onto.
So laugh too loudly, play a few games, tell some jokes, eat too much, drink too much wine and lots of good, hot coffee with that big piece of pie and remember to tell those you love how thankful you are for them; because days of being together braking bread are far and few between and priceless days that should never be forgotten.
To all of my friends and family reading this, I am Thankful that you are in my life. I appreciate the love you show me though-out the year, and I am looking forward to a new year full of things to be Thankful for, especially with all of you.
Be Thankful. And have an amazing Thanksgiving.
I know I am going to.