Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! 
Here in the United States, we set aside the last Thursday of November to get together with family and friends and take stock of all of our blessings. (Then the next day we go out in a mad rush to buy *more* stuff; that's how schizophrenic we are as a nation.)

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I like to sit around with good friends and family, I like to eat, and I like to drink. What better holiday can there be!? As an adult, Thanksgiving is the holiday where I go and spend time with my family, so it's even more special to me now. (Christmas weather is too chancy to travel in the Midwest, in general, so we travel at Thanksgiving instead.)

When I lived in Japan I would try to celebrate this holiday, but of course it is based on the Pilgrims surviving their first awful year in the US, so it is not a holiday in any other country. I ended up having a yearly dinner party with other Americans the weekend before or after actual Thanksgiving. We even special ordered a turkey a few times, but usually would have ham. It was fun, because I've always had plenty to be thankful for.

First of all, I have my health. I've never suffered from anything major in my entire life.

Secondly, I have my family and they have *their* health. My wife had cancer many years ago, but no relapse in twenty years, so we are very thankful for that. Our daughter and my sisters and brother and father are all healthy.

Thirdly, I have been blessed to have many wonderful people in my life. Yes, I have lost some dear friends and family. This past year was especially bad, as our mother died, which was not totally unexpected, and my brother-in-law also lost his battle with cancer, which was more of a shock. But you know what? I was blessed to have them at all, ya know? I treasure all my memories of them both. And on the brighter side, I have way more friends still around that I can continue to enjoy! So here's a shout out to all my loved ones, scattered all over the give me support when I need it, sometimes when you don't even know you're doing it! :-)

So really, what more do I need?

I'll be in St. Louis for the next few days. I'll be back next week. So sit back and enjoy yourselves. I urge everyone reading this to take a minute to give a hug to your friends and family, thank them for putting up with you, tell them you love them, and then counting your blessings. For all the crap out there we have to could always be worse. It really is a wonderful life.

Your friend, Russell

To illustrate this essay, here is the most famous Thanksgiving painting ever: Freedom From Want, by Normal Rockwell. He painted this in 1943 as a series of "The Four Freedoms" for the magazine The Saturday Evening Post. The magazine wanted to remind the people of the United States what freedoms we were fighting for. The term comes from a speech President Franklin Roosevelt made in 1941. This painting has been parodied many times over the years....and at the bottom  is my version, featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes. I call my version, "Giving Thanks Day 2986."

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