My Favorite Holiday

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It has the good food and quality family time of Christmas without the stress. I know that for some, the month of December is all candy canes and laughter, but I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself at Christmas. How much money should I spend? What’s the right gift to buy? When do I decorate? When do I take down the decorations? How can I make what’s become a commercial holiday meaningful for me and my loved ones? I create these unrealistic expectations,and inevitably I get let down at some point.

Oh, but Thanksgiving… I have nothing negative to say. When I think of Thanksgiving, I remember…

…that year I wasn’t able to eat much of the actual Thanksgiving meal because I snuck and ate three rolls before dinner was served.

…learning how to make cornbread dressing from my cousin Kenny. This is my favorite Thanksgiving food, and I feel sorry for those who only eat that breadcrumb stuff. A resounding boo to Stovetop Stuffing! Boo, I say!

…gravy. Watching my mom make giblet gravy, slowly stirring in flour. Me, later, pouring gravy over everything. Gravy is my second favorite Thanksgiving food.

…waiting in agonizing anticipation for my uncle to finish the longest Thanksgiving prayer ever. It was really a sermon. Uncle Bill, just say amen so I can eat already!

…playing bridge with my grandmother and others. What a game. It makes the other card games look a little pitiful.

…lots of family, extended family, and friends catching up, talking loud, and eating until short of breath, all while football games play on a big screen TV.

I haven’t gotten to attend a big family thanksgiving in a while. My husband’s in retail and works on Black Friday, and it’s getting more and more expensive to travel. In the meantime, I have my memories, and I try to remember to be grateful: for my family, that we talk and are still close though so many miles lay between us; for my friends; for my husband; for a job I love. Most of all, I feel overwhelming gratitude towards God, from whom all these good gifts flow.

Although the corporate machine continues to encroach on my beloved Thanksgiving day (Kmart opens at 6am- on Thursday), I’m going to relax, eat some great food with my hubby, and remember all I have to be thankful for. No shopping. Just gravy.

Psalm 106:1

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I’m not a Cartoon

It was 4th period in the library, and I had just finished showing the school’s daily news video to the study hall students. A young man at a table nearby said something like, “Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize you’re a real person?” He might have said the word soul. I wish I could remember his exact wording; it was such a strange, random thing to hear a high school boy say. But the guy sitting next to him seemed to get it and said, “Yeah.” I just had to butt in with “Yes, I’ve had that too!” I told them that it was a great thing to have that realization.

Mine came when I was a little girl- on a Saturday morning as I was watching cartoons. I’ve thought about it often as the years have passed, and I know I will never forget. Here’s the poem I wrote about it:

Little girl watching a TV screen
On a blissful Saturday morning.
Just the same old same old, then
A sudden freezing,
A sinking of (her very) self
Toward an abyss of meaning
A looking over the edge to discover, to see:
I’m not a cartoon.
              What I do matters.
               I’m real! I’m me.
For this moment, Who is to blame?
She doesn’t know yet-
Only something lost, something gained.

What do we call it? Reaching the age of accountability. Becoming self-aware. Being an agent of free will. Having a metaphysical moment. Whatever it is, it represents one of the things that makes us human.

If you’ve had a moment like this, when and where did it happen? I’d love to know. Share in the comments!