In Maine, I am a Facebook “fan” and I follow the police department, from the town I live in. We have had some interaction with the police here, who have always been kind, courteous and helpful; most specifically when Kate fell from that evil tree, which is now a table and stools, thanks to Derek, the Tree Guy.
For some reason, the children in our town trick-or-treat the day before, not the day of Halloween. There is a parade downtown, where they get to show off their costumes, before they begin to knock on doors, of houses lit to welcome them; they offer the proper “trick-or-treat” greeting, and then say thank you.
This year, Kate dressed like Winnie the Pooh, her favorite fictional character, to pass out candy. Everyone she greeted got such a kick out of her joyful costume; who does not love Pooh?
It was nice to see so many cheery people, parents standing at the end of the driveway or sitting in their cars, which is the way my Mother used to take us trick-or-treating; and close behind, we would see the police patrolling the streets.
Truly, it was one of those Mayberry RFD moments; okay how many of you have I lost with that cultural reference? Mayberry is a fictional small town, in the south, from the world of television, in the 1960’s.
There is also a parade at Christmas, the ball fields in town are full of parents and children, on the weekends, and while we are in a bit of a forested world up here, people generally keep those lawns mowed. This is a town trying to hold on to the American ideal, of what life should be; and whether or not they are succeeding; there is something comforting about the attempt.
What we all know, according to the ideal, is that Halloween is our segue into Thanksgiving; that very (North) American time of year, when we set aside at least one day, of the year, to be thankful.
In theory, we gather around the table, with our family and friends, and share a meal consisting of turkey, many delicious carbs, at least one odd vegetable dish, salads that do not get eaten, and pie.
At many tables, though not all, there is a time set aside where grace is said, and people take turns voicing their gratitude. The givens of Thanksgiving is that we are grateful for the bounty sitting on the table and the people we are sharing the meal with; while thinking about those loved ones miles away, with whom we cannot break bread.
The day is modeled on the pilgrims and Native Americans interaction to celebrate the bounty of their harvest, friendship, and survival; all things worth being thankful for.
I wonder, can we properly celebrate Thanksgiving, if we are not living up to the ideal of being grateful?
Are we still a thankful people? If it was your turn next, at that Thanksgiving table, what would you say? Would it be difficult for you to rattle off a list of things or people for which you are grateful or would you struggle to think what to say?
I am completely aware of the heartache and sorrow impacting our world today. I would like to think there have never before been such dark days, but my trusty Wikipedia says that the Spanish flu pandemic, of 1918-1920, killed between 50-100 million people; exact figures are unknown. It also says that the outbreak of the Plague, from 1347-1351 killed between 75-200 million people. At least with all of the acts of God and man upon us, we are not looking at causalities in that range; for which I am thankful.
In fact, I am thankful for a great deal, as the season of gratitude is upon us; mostly I am thankful for the people in my life, and the opportunity to interact with each and every one of you this year.
Yes, we have had our share of losses and heartaches, and grieve with a world in such disarray; but nevertheless, I am thankful and I hope you too find occasion, as you sit down to share a meal, to reflect on what you have to be grateful for, and by all means, let us collectively say a prayer for our world in need. We wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving; That Is All for Now.