Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Are You Thankful For?


Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.  Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Historically, Thanksgiving had roots in religious and cultural tradition. Today, Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated as a secular holiday. 
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest.  Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England.

Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes.  As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God".

And there you have it.  A brief history on how Thanksgiving came to be (not that you asked or even care).  Now here we are almost 400 years later... and still thankful.  Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions.  Each year at my family’s Thanksgiving meal we go around the table one by one and say what we’re thankful for.  As kids we were usually thankful for the turkey or the pumpkin pie.  As we grew older and more mature we became thankful for our family and friends.  As we entered adulthood we were thankful for things like peace and prosperity.  And as we ventured into our golden years we were thankful for good health and fond memories.  It’s a natural progression, life laid out through our Thanksgiving proclamations.  And there’s always been something reassuring about the symmetry.  But then I think about all the stuff that gets left out with this method.  About all the quirky things we’re thankful for that simply fall through the cracks. 

Think about it.  You’re dressed up in your Sunday bests (Thursday in this case), sitting around a festively decorated table, anticipating a meticulously prepared feast, and looking around at the warm smiles of your loved ones.  You can’t help but be overcome by sentimentality.  So it’s your turn to give thanks, you open up your mouth, and what do you suppose comes out?  Exactly what’s supposed to come out, that’s what. You stick to the standard Thanksgiving script, and who could blame you?  Hence the problem.  While appropriate and at times even touching, there’s no room for reality in this equation.                     

Therefore what follows (in typical Quinsey Blog fashion) is a list of the not-so-obvious things I’m thankful for this year.

·     My narcissistic Facebook friends who regularly post self portraits at various flattering angles.  I smile thinking about the countless shots that didn’t make the cut, and about the time and effort invested in taking all those shots.

·     The tree huggers, penny-pinchers, and old farts who drive Priuses (or is it Prii?).  If not for them who would cancel out my giant carbon footprint?

·     The dude at my daughter’s soccer game who went commando in a pair of see-through linen pants.  Thanks to him the even less pleasant images (if that’s possible) burned into the back of my corneas have now been replaced.

·     Adults who look for any excuse possible to dress up in costumes.  They make the rest of us feel more normal.

·     Canada.  No matter how shitty things get in the United States, at least we’re not Canada.

·     Zip ties and duct tape with which I truly believe I can fix anything.

·     The Kansas City Chiefs for making me feel slightly less pathetic for being a Chargers fan.

·     Crows, the bottom feeders of the bird world.  I seriously hate crows.  I mean really hate them.  I curse at them like a crazy old man and try to hit them with my car on a daily basis.  What?  We all need a healthy outlet for our rage.

·     Cargo shorts because I carry a lot of shit, and purses aren’t a good look for a dude (regardless of what the Euros tell you). 

·     Gloria Allred for making what I do for a living seem incrementally less sleazy.

·     And last but not least... Whatever hidden redeeming quality my wife has found that keeps her married to me (God bless her).
And God bless everyone else out there too.  Happy Thanksgiving!

The Quinsey Blog

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