“Gratitude is the antidote. It is a specific against a variety of diseases, from something as vague as the discontents of civilization to something as specific as personal grief – but gratitude is the antidote. Thanksgiving is the holiday of gratitude, and I am always willing to celebrate it.” – Jon Carroll.
So sing we now of tables past,
Of slow-hipped aunties brushing by
With plates and platters. Sing again
Of table leaf, piano bench;
Of room enough to spare for more.
So sing we now with gratitude
The antidote to our discord,
We share the table’s luxuries,
But sing we, too, of just enough –
Of feasts made more by scarcity.
O, sing, and pass the plates around,
With new-made family standing by
With sated hearts. And sing again
Of old made new, of friends beloved,
Of miles bridged close when we’re apart.
Gratitude holds the cure,
– for reality, for family, for lack of sleep –
Take the dose – drink it deep!
And raise your glass to tables past.
Always such busy days, Thursdays, and in the UK, Thanksgiving is inevitably the day for some sort of exam or conference, and Tech Boy is racing around, and I am home making a tiny roasted vegetable bread pudding and pasta and sweet potatoes and pumpkin tarts and all manner of things for which we will run out of space in our dorm-sized fridge. And then, I will play the annual I Will Kick Your Behind At Scrabble online game with my sisters, and then will be the Skype family dinner in which the fam will hold up their plates (Which always cracks me up. What, do we have smell-o-vision?) and talk to me between bites. The nephew will giggle and tell knock-knock jokes when he should be eating, and the baby will dump something over and try wriggling down from his chair, and the whinging will begin, and we will all sign off until next year — or, in this case, Sunday, which is when we always talk anyway.
And I will be grateful, and remember that certainty, that I have something for which to be grateful, and when it is dark and snowing and I slip on the stairs – which will be, in all likelihood, tomorrow morning — I will still feel the thrumming of the antidote in my veins, and I will sigh and get up and be grateful nothing is worse than a slightly dirtied pair of jeans. And I will go on. Because, that’s what gratitude does: lets you go on. In the dark. In the winter. When it is cold, and you would rather sleep than get up.
A lady said to me the other day, “I always thought the Americans just got another day of Christmas,” referring to Thanksgiving, which they are shocked is “so close to Christmas.” Um, not really. It’s a whole month away. And yet, Thanksgiving is a gift. I think I’ll keep it.