BEING THANKFUL IN TODAY’S WORLD
By NANCY PATRICK
I enjoy Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. Its position between two of the most publicized holidays of the year—Halloween and Christmas—offers a chance to breathe and focus on something other than commercialism.
Thinking about Thanksgiving actually makes me feel good. It reminds me of the plans for my fall wedding back in 1968. Enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University and not wanting our wedding to interfere with school responsibilities, Mike and I checked the school calendar, hoping to schedule the wedding on Thanksgiving weekend.
In preparation, we booked the wedding at the church, scheduled family travels, and mailed the invitations. Sometime in October, we double-checked the calendar and discovered that our wedding would actually precede Thanksgiving weekend. Obviously, the wedding went on as planned, but neither of us enjoyed our 8 a.m. classes that Monday. At least, the story has provided an entertaining anecdote for fifty years.
Another special part of Thanksgiving relates to the sensory pleasures of autumn. For example, the sights of the season include bright yellows, vivid oranges, vibrant reds, and lime greens as the various trees’ leaves turn into rich colors and fall to the ground. Once on the ground, they blanket yards, fields, and meadows where they mulch the soil for next year or become compost for a spring garden.
I also love the smell of fall. When the rain or dew mixes with the dust, the resulting musty odor inspires fireplaces and candles. Nothing welcomes a guest more than the gentle glow of a warm flame. Another aroma of the season is the spicy mix of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg in beverages, cakes, and pies. Who can resist a warm slice of pumpkin bread with a mug of spiced tea or cocoa on a cool autumn evening?
As I grow older, I become more aware of the many small things people do that make me especially thankful. They include putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher, making a new pot of coffee when they take the last cup, refilling the toilet paper dispenser, wiping feet on the rug, saying “thank you” for thoughtful or caring acts, and even making beautiful music whether vocally or instrumentally.
Amazingly, many aspects of my life have blessed me far beyond my worthiness. I had parents who loved and provided for me, I received an excellent education, I had plenty of food, I enjoyed good health, I had loyal friends, I experienced fulfillment and joy in my career, I live in a comfortable home, and I have a loving and faithful husband along with a sensitive and gentle son who gave me a beautiful granddaughter.
When I acknowledge the plight of so many people around the world who have so little and need so much, I realize the weight of my responsibility to offer thanks and share what I have. As we near this Thanksgiving, I hope you can join me in making a list of your blessings. It will not include sales, long lines for bargain prices, stress about money, worry about just the right gift, or decorations to impress the neighborhood. Whether you cook or eat out on Thanksgiving Day, take a moment to look around and count your blessings.
Nancy Patrick is a retired teacher who lives in Abilene and enjoys writing.