What ever happened to thanksgiving?

When I was young, Halloween decorations came down November 1st, but Mom left up fall leaves and pumpkins. She added a cornucopia with gourds on the table. Before Santa Clauses set up their chairs in the local department stores, there was a holiday for sharing a feast with your extended family and being grateful for your many blessings.

This year, as soon as the tombstones, skeletons, and jack-o-lanterns were packed up, red and green lights appeared on the houses in my neighborhood. Did I miss something?

Now more than ever we need to be thankful. Over the past two Covid years, I have lost family and friends to the virus and other causes. Many of us have attended more funerals, some virtual, than we ever have in our lives.

A reason to be thankful. We are still here to gather with family and friends, eat turkey, watch football, and savor pumpkin pie with mounds of whipped crème.

We all have our own reasons to be thankful.

This is my first year as a full-time writer. Thanks to a generous retirement incentive from my school district, I was able to retire early in May. This is the first time in my life that I haven’t had to balance a paying job with my creative passion.

My youngest daughter had twins this year. I am so thankful to have time to spend with them. More time than I ever had when I was raising my own children, part of that time as a widow.

My husband and I have six children and nine grandchildren. We are both so thankful that none of our children lost their jobs during the pandemic shutdown. Our grandchildren are healthy.

When we quiet our hearts, we can find thankfulness. Being grateful gladdens our hearts and silences our complaints. Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I’ll have Christmas music blaring through the house after next Thursday. But before we rush out to buy those perfect gifts and unwrap the presents under the tree, shouldn’t we start first with grateful hearts?

A Perfect Day

working

The 5:10 a.m. alarm wasn’t as shrill as most Mondays. Instead of stretching out my back and doing some twists in bed before my feet hit the floor, I jump up and out to the kitchen to turn on the coffee. Aside from the whispering dream of walking all the way into the mountains to visit my grandkids (Where does that come from?), my mind is as clear as a desert sky. It’s going to be a perfect day.

I’m busy constructing my husband’s lunch as he emerges from the bathroom. His ham and cheese sandwich looks more purposeful than usual. I even remembered the mayonnaise today. This morning, I even take time to make peanut butter celery sticks. My husband looks awake and ready for his forty-five minute commute to Murrieta.  He watches me curiously as I wrap them in foil.

“Why didn’t you stay in bed? I could have made my lunch this morning,” he says while wrapping me in a hug.

“I needed to get up,” I insist. “It’s going to be a perfect day.”

He nods with the understanding he alone has of the innermost workings of my mind. After pouring his coffee into his travel mug, and thermos for later, he gathers up his lunch and keys, kisses me, and heads out the door.

My day begins with devotion and meditation time. This involves a stack of pillows, a fleece blanket, a steaming bowl sized cup of coffee, and my Bible. Time to mentally and spiritually prepare for the day.

Some time passes, and I don’t look at the antique clock on the mantle once. This is a perfect day, and I don’t care about watching the time. When I’m ready, I unwrap myself from the couch and head into the kitchen. Instead of a quick bowl of instant oatmeal, I make myself an egg on an English muffin. I can nibble it slowly while I check social media on my phone. The sandwich actually has time enough to cool before I finish it, but this doesn’t annoy me because it’s going to be a perfect day.

Clean up can wait, and it’s time to plug in my lap top. I haven’t made a To Do List, but I’m not worried. Today I can post on my blog, do revisions on my book, and anything else I feel like doing. I might even watch a movie. Or maybe even DO NOTHING. The scandal of this thought causes me to shudder, but the moment passes quickly as I open up my computer. It’s going to be a perfect day.

The angle of the sun glaring through my kitchen window onto the breakfast bar where I sit typing measures the progress of my day. I write and drink coffee; I plan out my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast approaching in a few days. I pause to consider my own thankfulness. The whirlwind of my life contains many blessings- a husband-friend-partner, six children between us, six and a half grandchildren, supportive family, a teaching career, and the pursuit of a writing career. All of this is time well spent, but I do enjoy my vacation days, especially at the onset of the holiday season.

Today I won’t use my truck. Don’t expect me to call or text you. I might brush my hair, but I won’t put on makeup. When my husband returns at the end of the day, he won’t be surprised to find me curled up on the couch with my Kindle. After all, it’s a perfect day.