Thanksgiving’s over, and we’re just now getting ready to trash the last leftovers haunting our refrigerator. Pies seem to keep for a very long time, begging to be eaten because, although they may grow dry and crusty around the edges, the centers are still sweet. Week-old stuffing and string beans, on the other hand, have lost all their charms, slowly dissolving into too-moist masses of faded flavor.
We’ve got to clear that stuff out to make way for the invasion of Christmas foods a mere three weeks from now. We’ll dutifully keep those leftovers for a week, then discard them to make room for the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day feast-leavings. It’s a tough season for those of us fortunate enough to be faced with the problem of far too much of everything.
Somewhere along the way it feels like we’ve missed the message. Did anyone actually give thanks on Thanksgiving? I don’t mean a pro forma prayer recited over an overladen table as a gang of relatives salivated, hovering over plates with utensils in hand, half listening to broadcast football and hoping you don’t drone on too long.
No, I mean really give thanks. As in sitting alone and quietly reflecting on the many blessings, great and small, that fill your life. My list includes a loving wife, and our uniquely beautiful, funny, and wonderful children; my six siblings and elderly Mom whom I love dearly; a spacious, comfortable home; clean clothes; enough food in our two refrigerators and basement freezer to feed an African village for a month; a really good car; a clean bill of health. A sweet dog who wags his stubby tail like a runaway metronome whenever we come home.
There’s more — mundane but meaningful blessings like health and dental insurance coverage; a good mattress on the bed; lots of great books to read; two acoustic guitars that sing better than I do; a view of the ocean from our front porch; fresh parsley in the yard we’re still harvesting despite the coming cold.
Thanksgiving has become rote: there’s a big parade in New York, a big meal on the table, football on TV, and almost unbearable hoopla over the start of the Christmas season. That was last week. Now it’s quiet, and every day, I’m quietly giving thanks.