Forgotten Thanksgiving

Don’t Let it Pass You By

Have you ever wondered what happened to Thanksgiving? How did it become just another speed bump on the way to the real holiday season? Do you remember when you were little and Thanksgiving came to town? What a wonderful spectacle it was! Not so much these days. Now that one of the nastiest Halloweens on record (weather-wise) is in our rearview mirror, we can officially look forward to the holidays and Thanksgiving in particular.

I can remember when Turkey Day used to be a big deal. Preparations at our house would go on for weeks. Mom and Dad worked tirelessly to get the house ready for company, and a gut-busting Thanksgiving dinner. School windows would be adorned with little handprint turkeys, plus pictures of Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. That’s about as politically incorrect as you can get these days.

However, I prefer to think of Thanksgiving as it pertains to our two greatest presidents, Washington and Lincoln. Both made Thanksgiving Day Proclamations that encouraged Americans to give thanks and praise to God for all of His gifts. Another politically incorrect sentiment these days.

Our family’s routine is pretty structured when it comes to Thanksgiving day. I pick up a Black Friday newspaper from 7-11, then we settle in with a cup of coffee and hot chocolate to scope out the best deals for our Christmas shopping. Around 9 am, we turn on WDIV to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and listen to the cheesy commentary from the play-by-play commentators.

Post-parade, there’s a half-hour window before the Lions game. We use the time to prep the turkey and pop it into the oven. Then, I do my best to stay out of my wife’s way, while remaining nearby, in case I’m needed for a last-minute run to Kroger. Our sons hunker down in the living room or basement, trying to stay out of the way as well.

Over the years, Thanksgiving has gotten a reputation for family squabbles. Because of the politically-charged world we live in, the dinner table is hardly a safe space. Plus, in an effort to force people to be thankful, many families have started the, “What I’m thankful for this year” tradition. This has always seemed too contrived and phony for me.

How about taking a moment before the big day and think about reasons to be thankful for your family and friends? Then during holiday conversations go through your mental checklist and sprinkle in your thanks. This will probably be accepted as genuine gratitude, and not just drummed up thankfulness. Who knows? Maybe it will catch on. After all, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, Charlie Brown.

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Old Days

Everyone Has Them

Have you ever found yourself longing for the simpler days of your youth? Back when the biggest problems you faced were tiny by today’s standards? Getting home before the streetlights came on, or finishing up your homework before Batman aired on ABC. Or, how about calling that cute girl from school, without your brothers and sister finding out? Yep, those were the days. Needless to say, life has gotten a lot more complex since then.

I remember when I was a sophomore in high school, the song Old Days, by Chicago, hit the airwaves and it made me nostalgic for my elementary and junior high school days. I find that comical now, that a kid in high school can be moved by a sentimental song to pine for the Old Days. I guess it just goes to show, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, we always tend to view the past fondly.

My wife and I used to crack up when our son Kevin would say, “Back in the day,” to describe something that happened when he was little. He was only ten years old at the time! We all have a tendency to look back fondly on the past, glossing over the crappier parts. I think that’s why pondering the future sometimes causes us a little trepidation. After all, we know what happened in the Old Days, but the future remains to be seen.

There are a lot of very old (at least in my book) gentlemen at our local community center gym. They referred to me as a kid, when I told them I just turned 60. I appreciate the thought guys. However, I know if I dared to break out the phrase, “Back in the day” it would be greeted with raucous laughter by these old farts. Everyone has their own definition of the Old Days. As we head into this holiday season, hopefully, it will stir up some fond memories of your Old Days. Happy reminiscing.

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