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Gourds Thanksgiving

photo credit: Shan Jeniah via WANA Commons Flickr

Today is the one day of the year that we celebrate the coming together of the Pilgrims (the earliest settlers of these United States) and their new friends, the Indians (Native Americans) to feast on the fruits of their labors. They were thankful that they’d survived another horrible New England winter, which in turn had brought them a glorious spring and summer, yielding, thanks in no small part to the tips from the aforementioned friends, a bountiful harvest.

However much of that is true and how much is legend, I can’t say. What I can say is that from that day to this, it is a time for Americans to gather with family, those to whom we’re linked by birth, blood or choice, to share a meal, reminisce about Thanksgivings past, whether they be like this…

…or more like this:

…and most importantly, count our blessings.

By now, you may or may not be tired of reading about the things for which other people are grateful and to which the internet provides us endless access. I hope you’re in the latter category as I’m about to add to the list.

I’m thankful, of course, for all of the usual things like the air in my lungs, cute shoes, sunsets and kittens,

Kitten, Thanksgiving, thankful

photo credit: Kristin Nador via WANA Commons Flickr

as well as trivial things like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that never fails to bring a smile, even if all of the musical acts are indistinguishable from one another. (Blindfolded I couldn’t tell Cher Lloyd from Ariana Grande if you paid me. And now we’re celebrating “YouTube sensations” whose only goal seems to be emulating Justin Bieber? The balloons and the marching bands are worth it) and the National Dog Show that follows it  because it’s like window shopping for my next dog (although if and when I can have one again, I promise it will be a rescue).

Seriously though, there are a lot of things for which I am truly thankful.

I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head, food in my refrigerator, a warm coat and a job that pays for the lot (no matter how much I may complain about it). It is important we remember that there are too many that have none of those things. Living in this city I see these people every day. Whether it’s with the change in my pocket or the umbrella in my hand, if I can’t help all of them, I can help a few. It’s my privilege to be able to do so.

I’m thankful that I live in a country in which girls have as much right to an education as boys and because of that education I have the ability to string these words together. Turn on the news and you’ll realize what a blessing that really is.

I give thanks for my mother (for better or worse, she shaped the person that I am more than any other. I am grateful that I can still tell her how much I appreciate the sacrifices she made along the way) and for her husband Ted, who is making the waning years of her life the best years of her life.

I give thanks for my chosen family which includes the two extraordinary women with whom I share this blog. Each of them, separately and together, have given me more than they’ll ever know or I could articulate, but I am a better person for having them in my life.  (And for that reason I’m thankful for Gerard Butler, well for several reasons, but mostly because in his own way, he’s responsible for bringing us together.) I’m thankful for every laugh, every tear, every hug that we three share.

This brings me to the thought at the front of my mind today. I am grateful that I had the chance to meet this guy, who instantly made me feel welcome in his home and his generous heart…

Keith, Thanksgiving, thankful

8/22/11

…and most of all, that once upon a time he met C.C. Cedras. Unlike most, they knew how lucky they were to have found one another. The story books don’t tell us exactly how long “happily ever after” actually is, but they made each other happy every minute of every day that they were blessed to share. Thankfully, I was given the chance to see how it’s supposed to be and that it is possible. I’m grateful for the hope.

“I’d rather have thirty minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special.” – Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias

Me too.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader. I’m also thankful for you. Now, go eat your dinner and hug whatever family you have near.  And if you felt like sharing what you are thankful for today, I’d be grateful for that, as well.

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