Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Long ago I stopped trying to understand this holiday in an historical context. We spent a great deal of time learning about things in school, about how the pilgrims and Indians had a feast and ate and drank and played football outside and then watched The Christmas Story 12 times on TBS.

When you grow up, you discover most of what you're taught about the holiday is fantasy. It is Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny in a big black hat.

When I was in second grade, I played Gov. William Bradford in the school play (I stole the show, despite looking little like the man). Those memories are good ones, and I prefer to keep them that way, despit coming to the realization that the play much like Remember the Titans, has very little truth to it.

But that doesn't mean one can reject the holiday all together. It's one of the few holidays not bathed in commercialism. There is a shopping day afterwards, of course, and you may see more pictures of turkeys, but that's about it.

What Thanksgiving really is about is family. Football is also on pretty much all day, but the holiday usually involves seeing people you don't always see, remember things you haven't thought of, and reminding yourself what you have.

In that sense, Thanksgiving is one of our country's most rewarding and honest holidays, even if the feel good story they taught us isn't exactly true.

Thanksgiving is a time to say thanks. In a society where it is often easier to complain than rejoice, it comes not a moment too soon.



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