We Gather Together
Thanksgiving: The Forgotten Holiday
I can tell I am growing older. As a child, I loved Halloween and Christmas. They provided fun, goodies, and gifts. I liked Thanksgiving but nowhere near as much as the other two holidays.
As a parent of young children, I loved Halloween and Christmas, probably even more than when I was a child myself. Terri and I loved the fun, goodies, and gifts we shared with our girls and extended family. I liked Thanksgiving more than I did as a child but still not as much as the other two holidays … because I began to see life as more than just fun, goodies, and gifts.
As an older adult, I now like Halloween and Christmas and still appreciate the fun, goodies, and gifts but now I really, really love Thanksgiving. I now see life as so much more than just fun, goodies, and gifts. I now see it’s the little things that make life purr and hum. Little things like quiet time with Terri and the dogs, things like a roof over our head at night, running water, lasting friendships, and the little town we live in that fits like a well worn, though still comfortable suit.
I think Thanksgiving continues to get the short shrift from most people because so many others are still in the fun, goodies and gifts mindset. Heavens, Black Friday has actually usurped much of Thanksgiving afternoon … and don’t even start me on the computer sales.
Media, commercials, and society bang a loud drum touting this or that product and how, once you have it, you will be happy. You will have it made. Life will be better.
But it’s not anything you can buy really that brings happiness, contentment, or real enjoyment. It is the little things, the often forgotten or ignored things. Things like friends, family, faith, health, and love. These little things make for contentment.
My mom mentioned a saying when I was much younger that I accepted on the surface but never probed more deeply to understand (much less emulate) “I may not be wealthy but I certainly am rich.” And that she was.
Mom, dad, and I were fortunate to have each other for as long as we did. Dad was near forty when I was born; mom, thirty-five. Mom and dad were told they never would have children … but they did. They lost my sister, Debbie, at the age of three and a half from neuroblastoma. They were told again they would have no more children. But they did.
You see, it’s the little things that make a difference. My family never lived in a big house, never drove fancy cars, but never lacked food, shelter, or love.
So many people don’t have those three, often forgotten items … ”food, shelter, and love.” We really need to look at the little things and enjoy what we do have rather than fret at what we don’t.
Before dad died he told me, “Son, I want leave you much money but I will leave you a lifetime of good memories.” And he did. And now some eighteen years after his death I am truly thankful.
I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving whether you have turkey, ham, or Spam in a can (which I do truly like … I know I shouldn’t but dad cooked some mean Spam).
I am thankful for my family, a wife far, far better than I could ever have deserved, faithful friends, and a smorgasbord of little daily blessings…a sunset, music, my health, a good belly laugh, and a zillion other things.
Live a blessed life … because we have been richly blessed … far beyond what any of us deserves!
(Dr. David O’Shields is superintendent of School District 56.)