Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s hoping you’re comfy-cozy and sharing your holiday with family and friends.
Because that’s the magic word every day: Sharing.
We have so much to be grateful for, things big and small, everywhere we look: Love and people who care. Health. Good food and the fun of preparing it. Music, dance and art. Wildlife and wilderness. The beauty of our hometown and the people who live here. Freedom to be me. Fresh air and sunshine, rain and fresh water to drink. Goals reached and adventures to come. And laughter to share.
On the quirkier side, there’s refrigeration, indoor plumbing and stoves. Chocolate, pizza and sushi (separately, I hope). Sharpie pens, sticky notes, Scotch tape, Velcro and zippers. Transportation. Bluetooth, the Internet and cellphones (sometimes). And the list goes on.
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There’s my diverse, crazy family, the memories we share and the fun we have together … especially when we’re cooking and then dining together at our groaning-board table. And even when we have to clean up the catastrophe that started out as a kitchen, which happens to be in the middle of our great room, so we can’t put off the chores. The disaster area is front and center.
We enjoy so many freedoms, about which some people argue incessantly. Our country is based on differences of opinion, and while there may be times I think you’re a jackass for believing as you do, I’m thankful for your right to do it, and for those who protect that right.
I do try to remember that a closed mouth gathers no feet.
But sometimes … .
I recently forwarded a photo of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, which was captioned, “The best way to honor our fallen soldiers is to stop creating so many of them,” by putting our military members in harm’s way in wartime.
I honor and respect our brave armed forces; I hate the wars and conflicts that kill them. But some respondents took me to task for being too idealistic or too liberal, whatever that is.
My reply? Some assertions “aren’t meant to be political statements or endorsements of a particular philosophy. Some are the merely … wistful wishes from a sad dreamer pulling petals off a daisy and hoping for peace.”
Now, after the horrific attacks on Paris, so many fearful Americans want to slam shut our nation’s doors.
I don’t think that’s what our Founding Fathers had in mind.
“Give me your tired, your poor …”
Yes, some of the saddest times in the U.S. were when some citizens banded together to persecute or shun minorities, whether they were already in the country or wanted to be. We ridiculed, segregated and punished Native Americans, people of color, Irish, Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Germans, gays, Mormons, Catholics.
Why? As soon as there were enough of “them” to be a threat to the dominance of the rest of us, nastiness and bias came to the party. Aggression against and intimidation of “them” were common.
But by what right would I do that? What makes my color or ethnicity or God better than theirs, as long as they’re good people, too?
My ancestors were immigrants. My paternal grandparents came to the U.S. from Sicily, separately, meeting and marrying after they arrived. My grandfather arrived in New Orleans, my grandmother immigrated through Ellis Island.
My mother's ancestors arrived in the New World in the early 1500s. They were immigrants, too.
“Give me your tired, your poor …”
As I posted after the Paris attacks, “With all the violence and hatred in so many places, disasters manmade and natural in so many more, I’m not sure who most needs our prayers and love and hope.
“These aren’t times to be harping and crabbing at people about red cups and politically correct holiday wishes, about which flag we should use to cover our profile photos, or even about the political silly season. Those are trivial in the face of real tragedy.
“There’s so little each individual among us can do about any or all the things we’d like to change. And making each other uncomfortable and defensive won’t help any of the situations that are upsetting us so.
“I guess I’ll just settle for saying these are times to hope all of us can find and share peace and empathy for all mankind, for the earth we share and the wildlife and habitats thereon.”