The Single Best Thing About Thanksgiving
There is something that happens every Thanksgiving in every town in America that you don’t read about in the Huffington Post or see on the Today Show, or really even talk about with your friends. It’s more of a small town thing, or small city; definitely Main Street, not so much Wall Street. It happens in places like Ithaca, Bay Shore, Orland Park & Charlestown, just outside the great cities of America.
Thanksgiving has never been interpreted or celebrated for its true meaning, which is probably a good thing if what historians say about the first Thanksgiving is even remotely true. What makes Thanksgiving a very cool and powerful holiday is not celebrating the killing of Mohegan Indians after the Pilgrims invited them to supper. It’s that it takes place in the fall (or autumn if you went to private school). The fall is a time of year when there is significant change in every aspect of our lives. The whimsical and carefree season of summer is ending and it’s time to confront reality – again. We put all our plans on hold so we can enjoy Budweiser, baseball, bikinis and the beach. Nobody makes any life changing decisions in August, we all ride it out in full appreciation of Mother Nature and all her beauty.
In the fall everything changes. Everything. There is significant climate change as the sun starts setting earlier. There is visual change in our environment as leaves turn brown and fall from maple trees as summer takes its last breath. Many of us embrace the change in style and welcome our Carhartts, boots and caps. You just feel rugged when there is a brisk in the air. Young adults full of promise, hope and everything that is good head off to college with their eyes wide open like a baby laughing for the first time. Many others use the fall as a time to make big changes in their lives – quitting their day job, moving to a new city, finalizing a divorce or moving grandma to a new home. Cities like Chicago, Boston & Atlanta start filling up again after a long hot summer full of half filled restaurants and drawn out baseball seasons. Everything changes in the fall.
Thanksgiving is a time to stop and reflect on your new chosen path. It’s not quite halftime, but its like a second quarter timeout when you need to review your strategy and make sure you are on point with your new decisions, new city, new job or new life. This is the best thing about Thanksgiving. It’s coming home, not necessarily where you grew up, but wherever you spent significant time. Coming home for Thanksgiving means going to the local pub on Wednesday night to reconnect with friends and family from a time ago. It happens in every town in America at sole proprietor taverns called Shanghai Kelly’s, Ercoles, O’Reilly’s & Stanley’s. People of all ages arrive like Pilgrims from the Mayflower to share a couple of pints and swap stories and photos. You become locked arm in arm with teachers, classmates and neighbors, some that you never even liked before, exchanging Irish Car Bombs and singing Tiny Dancer. It’s the movie scene that’s never been written and it happens in every town in America. It should have a name, and probably does in more thoughtful languages, but that’s what makes it so wonderful.
For many Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving unless you show up at the dinner table or high school football game a little beat up from a night of reflection. It’s the fabric of our country, borrowed from our immigrant grandparents and no iPhone app will ever be able to replace it, and for that we are thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving and Thank You For Reading!