Perhaps you thought I'd forgotten Christmas... or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any of the many ways people celebrate their individual faith around the world. I didn't.
I hope I don't hurt anyone's feelers but I truly believe that Thanksgiving is America's very best holiday. Yes, I know that there's not a lot of red, white and blue. Yes, I know it's not a religious holiday. Yes, I know that we are not celebrating Veterans but you'd better believe that they benefit from this one. There are no heart shaped chocolates or spooky ghosts but think about it... Thanksgiving... how can it get better?
This is a day that we honor our heritage and the history of our country by honoring and celebrating our families. We do this with traditions built through generations. We do this with food and love... my favorite four letter words.
If you track the origin of the food on your holiday table, you'll likely find out a lot about your own family. Food is the essential part of life which comes with every ethnic group. They may share their faith, or parts of it, but their cuisine will be be fiercely defended... even when it may be very, very similar.
I think of the number of herbs and spices shared by people across the world and am always amazed at how people can take the same basket of ingredients and turn it in to a truly unique dish which represents their own culture.
Americans? I think we're all over the map. We love to eat and we love our traditions but not many of us are very adventuresome when it comes to Thanksgiving. Most of us will have turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes and some kind of vegetable that none of the kids will really want. We'll have cranberries in one form or another and lovely homemade rolls if we're lucky.
At dessert, we'll have pumpkin pie and some other treat. Around here it's pecan pie that is the most popular second choice. There must be some Southern influence there, I'll reckin'.
I am most proud to be an American at this time of year because the folks I know are people who share. They are the ones who try to make sure there will be enough food to go around in their communities. We may not always make that possible but the idea is that we care enough to keep trying. It's just another reason to love this early winter holiday.
There are others and as you read this, I hope each of you take note of the memories and traditions you share in your own family. I hope these will bring you happiness and that you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. You deserve it... we all do.
Heck, I don't even mind doing the dishes. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the best part of Thanksgiving for me this year is that it's my 70th birthday. By the time you read this, I'll be partying (very carefully) with my brand new hip. Maybe I'll even be home. What do I want this year for Thanksgiving dinner? Pizza. What else? I love this country!