Today is the holiday we here in America call Thanksgiving. Most cultures throughout history have had some form of feast to celebrate a good harvest, but the American version of the holiday dates back to the year 1621 when a group of Pilgrims sat down with the Indians who had, quite literally, saved their lives, to celebrate not just their first successful harvest, but their very survival in a strange and dangerous new world. The official Thanksgiving holiday dates to 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln decreed the last Thursday in November as a "national day of thanksgiving." In 1941 Congress - then, as now, always willing to fix things not requiring fixing - designated the fourth Thursday in November as the Thanksgiving holiday.
There are many traditions associated with Thanksgiving. It's a time for families to gather (as ours did last week in Pittsburgh) and presidents to pardon a few turkeys, and it marks the traditional start of the Christmas holiday season (which nowadays, of course, begins just after the Fourth of July).
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In a crazy world in which we too often focus on the negatives, it's good to have a day on which we can sit back and reflect on the things that are good in life ... the things for which we can be truly thankful. On this Thanksgiving Day, Bilbo the Cynical Curmudgeon yields the blog to Bilbo the Reflective Grandpa to think about some of the things that are right with the world ...
A beautiful wife that makes getting up every morning worthwhile;
Three loving and successful children who have made their own marks on the world;
Five adorable, intelligent, and loving grandchildren that can warm the most jaded heart;
The world's best son-in-law and daughter-in-law;
Good health (well, most of the time, anyhow);
The good fortune to be able to live in a country which, for all its faults, gives me the opportunity to enjoy all of them;
The ability to write what I wish in this space without worrying about the heavy hand of the censor;
The ability to enjoy the good things of the world that would be denied by those whose harsh and intolerant worship of a jealous and angry God ignores the beauty and possibilities of the present in favor of a belief in an imagined paradise in an unknowable future.
I have many things to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day. And as I get ready to finish cleaning the house and cooking the dinner for our friends who will join us later in the day, it's only right and proper that I should take a few minutes to acknowledge that I am, as ever, most richly blessed.
I wish all of you, Dear Readers, the very happiest and safest of holidays.
Have a good day. Give thanks for the good things you have ... and the bad things you don't.
More thoughts tomorrow.