A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving (For What It’s Worth)

It is time once again for America to pause in our daily rituals of economic success and express gratitude for what we have. In this respect, it’s a wonderful holiday, and has been for over 150 years. It has always been timed to coincide with the end of the growing season, a celebration of the bountiful harvest. In more recent years, it has also been an excuse for parades, more sporting events (football in particular), and of course the beginning of the Christmas advertising deluge.

This year will be different. The celebrations for Thanksgiving — families gathering for a big feast — will have to be shortened this year. It will have to end early as the bulls of entrepreneurial capitalism crash the psychological barrier of midnight Thanksgiving night and start the Christmas buying rush before the clocks strike twelve.

We should have seen this coming. Just a few short years ago, stores started opening before their usual 9a opening, and advertised they would open at 6a. That’s 6a, in the morning, before even the sun thinks about getting up. Then, when that didn’t satisfy the insatiable appetite for greed, the stores went to opening at 5a, then — aw, the hell with the night altogether — let’s open at midnight. Now this year, even that last vestige of decency is being brought down as the titans of retailing trample over the last hours of Thanksgiving. Stores are “opening” at 10:00p, some as early as 8:00p.

Why don’t we just run roughshod over the damn bird too?

On this sour note, we try to find something to be thankful for on this holiday. The following list is just holiday suggestions for what all of us could and/or should be thankful.

We should be thankful that we have men and women in our lives who sacrifice years of their lives to protect our way of life in such far-flung, seemingly God-forsaken places as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hopefully, soon, their families will be able to express gratitude that their loved ones have returned home.

We should be thankful for the work by thousands of others as they restore power and rebuild sections of the east coast hit by Hurricane Sandy. Certainly, everyday life has been altered and interrupted, but the work by utility workers, police, fire people and other first responders, government emergency workers, and various charities will hopefully make this interruption temporary. We should be thankful too for the leaders in our government who risk their own standings within their respective parties to reach across the aisle and do the work they were elected to do by helping the storm victims.

We should be thankful for the many opportunities of which we can take advantage. We can move around freely, change jobs when needed, and live our lives the way we choose to live them. Certainly there’s always room for improvement, but we can be thankful that we have the intellectual capability to determine what is and what isn’t an improvement. Slowly but surely, progress is being seen in several areas of America’s social issues. We’ll get there, but it will take time to achieve the right goals.

We should be thankful that, for all its rancor and downright nastiness, America survived another election cycle. We listened to the ideas and the candidates,  sorted out what was right and wrong for us, went to the polls, and completed our ballots at the appointed times with minimal interference from several state governments. We should be thankful that once again we demonstrated to ourselves and the world that democracy works.

On a personal note, I am grateful for the loved ones with whom I will be able to spend time during these upcoming holidays. I still have an aging uncle in my life, who I try to visit with some regularity at the nursing home a short distance from my house. I am also grateful that my cousin finally realized a goal which will extend her life expectancy; last week she underwent a double lung transplant. I am sure that her family is grateful today that this operation finally happened after years of waiting.

I am grateful for those close to me in my house: Anne Marie and our cats Meredith and Nyla. I still miss Stephen, but Nyla does so much to filling the void that Stephen’s passing created. I am also grateful that my mom is still with us and that my brother and his family are doing well. I should also note my thankfulness for my father, a man who loved me dearly, taught me all that he could teach me about life, and instilled in me a sense of tolerance for the beliefs of others by never saying anything racist or xenophobic when I was around. For that reason alone, I am grateful that he was a part of my life. Thank you, Dad, wherever you are…

(Thank you for reading.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!)


Anonymous Janey said...

Beautifully written; deeply moving; thought provoking -- Thank you, RTG...

November 23, 2012 at 6:45 AM  

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