|Uncle Sam is inflated for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.|
As I grow older, Thanksgiving means more to me, it seems; perhaps because when I was younger, I hadn't really lost anything yet. But loss is a part of life, and of course a part of aging; so every year there is someone else missing from the Thanksgiving table. Someday I'll be missing, too.
Even when I was young, I was struck by the day's stillness; for a time, on Thanksgiving, everything simply stopped - before the relatives arrived, while the turkey was basted in the oven and far away, in television-land, enormous balloons drifted through Manhattan, or football players suited up for their ritual struggle. Then the stillness seemed, well, just empty; now perhaps it sounds a melancholy note.
Still, thankfulness only has meaning when its opposite is understood, and there is much to be thankful for this year. I have my health, I'm employed; I have my family and friends, and of course you, my readers! I have somewhere to go on Thanksgiving (not everyone does). None of those I love were washed away by a hurricane (not everyone was so lucky); the country seemed to regain its grip on political sanity; and inch by inch we seem to be working our way out of our dire economic straits. That's enough - more than enough.
Thankfulness implies hope - in a way it is hope. So I try to be hopeful, remembering that may the essential message of Thanksgiving. We are of course still on the precipice of various disasters; we always will be. But this Thanksgiving I think we have hope.