Is Thanksgiving a great holiday, or what?
by Charlie Leck
Almost everyone we know across this nation considers Thanksgiving Day his or her favorite holiday. We're with them. We think Thanksgiving is the only holiday to which we actually look forward. If we were to ask all these folks the reason for this, their answers would be pretty much the same as ours. Thanksgiving Day is laid back and it's all about family and very close friends. There is no pressure to come up with gifts. Just relax and enjoy the day. Granted, there is lots of work involved. It's not easy to lay out a feast for a dozen or more people.
We're going through the pre-Thanksgiving period right now and it is pressure packed. Our list is long. Get the yard looking as good as possible. Clean the entire house top to bottom. Take the shopping list to the grocery store (boy, is this a job). Line up the perfect wine and an acceptable beer. Figure out the seating arrangements. Around here, it's the woman of the household who goes nuts getting everything ready. She truly loves Thanksgiving and she gets very excited about seeing family and friends, but she puts enormous pressure on herself to make everything just perfect. It was pretty intense this past weekend. We think the vacuum cleaner motor must have been worn out. It was running constantly. The whip the mighty woman carried was cracking pretty loudly. It kept us jumping – at least as well as an over-weight, old-timer can jump.
On Thursday it will all be worth it. Grandkids will show up with shiny, beautiful faces. Daughters and deeply loved and appreciated sons-in-law will be on hand. A few friends will be here, too.
And, as we gather at the table, anxious to dig in to the incredible feast prepared by many people, we will bring everything to a halt. We won't ask for time to pray; however, we will suggest we all spend a brief moment thinking about something very specific.
Dear, departed Grandpa Wakefield always had thanksgiving dinner at his lovely farm house. There would be 20 to 30 gathered. Grandpa would always bring everyone to a stop at one point during the day and ask that each person say something special in accordance with his instruction. One year it was: "Express what you are most thankful for about this past year." Another year it was: "What are your goals for the coming year?"
All the diners were always embarrassed and it was difficult to get the expressions from the gathered crowd; but one by one each of us would respond to Grandpa's request and it was always touching and wonderful. It was also the moment each of us always remembered about our Thanksgiving Day.
Since Grandpa died, we've tried to pick up this tradition, but we don't have his "balls" about it. Grandpa never got embarrassed. He was totally sincere and he expected people to respond sincerely. Grandpa Wakefield made Thanksgiving wonderful for us and we will always remember this wonderful thing about him.
In Grandpa's spirit this year, we'll ask everyone to think about him and all our memories of him and to say something about what they remember most about him. This is the first time we've given gatherers an advanced warning.
We hope you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving Day!