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Thanks For Giving

November 27th, 2014 by Magdalena Tabor

Turkey and stuffing aside, why do we place such emphasis on this most celebrated of holidays? Standing at the kitchen counter preparing my contribution of brussel sprouts (with thanks for givingchestnuts and bacon) I reflect on the significance of my offering. Would anyone really care if the called-for dish was presented or not? Busying ourselves with the myriad of choices, plates piled high like mounds of pyramids before the gods, someone will ultimately forget the cranberry sauce until mid meal where it sits forgotten on the sideboard. So, I ask myself again, would anyone really care if it, or for that matter I, were there or not? What would the impact of my absence be away from the chaos of family and extended members of the usual clan? It would certainly mean more elbow room at the shrinking table groaning with abundance.
But this is exactly when, I remind myself, the absence of one or another is felt the most. At just such moments, when the entire family gathers, only to remember the one or two that are missing. As the years go by the family continually contracts and expands with newly initiated members, changing in appearance but for its core. The cruxt of which is the heart and soul of not just one but every single person who contributes to the whole. What in heaven’s name would Thanksgiving be without Mom’s stuffing? Herb’s carving of the turkey? Nina’s Italian specialties? Michael’s quiet presence and gentle way with the kids? And the family dog sneaking a missed forkful beneath the table. Even she offers humor and warmth to the gathering.
What about all the people who have no family left with whom to share the holiday? Or a family without the means to provide a bountiful feast that every American has the right to enjoy? Have we thought about dropping a can of vegetables or a box of cookies into the food drive container on our way out of the store? The missing ingredient to light up someone’s day. A small flickering of a candle that maybe you or I struck a match to. A glow of kindness.
This year has been an especially trying one. I may face the celebration with a mix of the bittersweet. Yet I arise at the crack of dawn. (Okay, maybe I allowed myself that extra half hour). Prepare the anticipated offering. And arrive at my destination wearing my Happy Hat askew with grace and good will. But whatever my circumstances, my humble offering is yours.

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3 Responses to “Thanks For Giving”

  1. Susan Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Michael and Magdalena. It amazes me that some people, just don’t get it. Thanksgiving is a time of gathering around the table with loved ones, yet there are some people who make it seem as if it’s akin to going before the firing squad. I realize that I was extremely lucky with the family that I had and it was because of our relationship that I so enjoyed Thanksgiving. For one day, my sibling took off from work and came home, this was the one day that my father wouldn’t go to work and my mother slaved for days to make it a day where everyone got what they enjoyed. Oh the memories. I realize that it may be unfair of me to judge others for not appreciating what they had, after all I haven’t walked in their shoes. They may not have had the wonderful parents that I did. They may have done everything they could to get away from their family. But I cannot help but wonder, if most of the people who flee the family gatherings are just narrow minded unforgiving individuals who don’t know, of just plain refuse, to accept one another for their differences and in some cases just forgive. I always knew I had a wonderful family and I miss them dearly every day of my life. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t know what they have until they no longer have it.
    My wish for this Thanksgiving, is that those people who wish to flee, give it a second thought and reconsider what they are truly running from. Think of your loved ones and some of the wonderful memories that you shared. Just remember that one day, things can abruptly change and you’ll never get the chance to tell them how much you loved them.
    Do yourself a favor and tell them how you feel. Give thanks for what you have and for what you can offer.
    I am thankful for the family I had, the wonderful memories I have, my loving pup and the “neighbor” who always makes me feel that I’m not alone.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. magdalena Says:

    Susan, you are as much a cherished family member as any blood relation. Oh, and Chip too, of course. That goes without saying. You are right when you say that some don’t appreciate what they have until it’s gone. And yes, things can change in an instant. I treasure the memories I have of my father, grandmother, aunts and uncles. Thankful for the ones that are still here to talk to despite our differences. Because, the fact of the matter is, what makes us different isn’t as important as what makes us similar. Those similarities outweigh whatever differences there are and though they are at times difficult to overlook, we can certainly sweep them under the rug and dance on top of them for awhile. Happy Thanksgiving, my good friend. We are always here for you.

  3. magdalena Says:

    And to all our friends and relatives who were there when it meant the most, we are grateful beyond words. May God bless us all.

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