An Open Apology to Thanksgiving

barry currin, beaverdamusa.com(Originally published November, 2013)

Dear Thanksgiving,

Things have been tough for you lately, and I for one am sorry.

Just a few years ago, you had it made. You were the most festive American holiday. Sure, Independence Day has its cookouts and fireworks, but it couldn’t hold a Roman candle to you.

You kicked off a 4-day weekend of relaxation and fellowship. We got up, watched the parade, maybe traveled over the river and through the woods – without much traffic – to Grandma’s while the sun burned the frost into fog along the countryside. White smoke wafted from chimneys. A deer stood peacefully by the roadside, providing a nice touch. We played football in the yard in the afternoon.

There was no pressure to look good for you in a bathing suit. There were no gifts to worry about. You were the best smelling of all the holidays, and of course, the best tasting.

Simply stated, you were perfect. How could we screw you up so badly?

You are supposed to be the start of the holiday season. But, we have made you irrelevant. Stores crank up “Feliz Navidad” and “All I Want for Christmas is You” the day after Halloween and blare them in an incessant loop in stores for 55 ear-numbing days. People decorate their homes for Christmas before they finish eating the un-given-away Halloween candy. It’s ludicrous. It makes me angry, and I know it makes you feel slighted. We have turned the 12 days of Christmas into the 12 weeks of commercialism, and you have been lost in the shuffle.

I guess we’re embarrassed by what we’ve done, because we can’t even force ourselves to call you by your real name anymore. No need to thank us, “Turkey Day.” Enjoy your nickname.

And speaking of made-up words, I know you hate “doorbusters” as much as I do. I know you hate Black Friday, as well. And, I know you now hate pre-Black Friday even worse.

“Don’t wait ’til Thanksgiving to shop… Shop at the Thanksgiving Now Sale,” the TV commercial said.

We shouldn’t blame it all on the retailers, though. We feed the monster. We’re the ones who get up at 4 a.m., find the one last credit card that isn’t maxed out and hit the drive-through for a $5 cup of coffee before elbowing our way toward that $11.88 flat screen TV — even though no one we know needs another television at any price.

And, as always, some of us will get trampled busting through the door in the dark. Countless others will lose control and fight over the last Xbox. I hope people in other countries don’t watch the US news on Thanksgiving night. We’re greedy, we’re sad, we’re lemmings; and, it would be nice to keep that little secret in the family.

How did we let it happen, Thanksgiving? Maybe you need your own songs. That couldn’t hurt. Has anyone ever written you a song? If they have I don’t know it. And if they did now, it would probably be called “‘Twas the day before Black Friday.” What even rhymes with doorbusters, anyway? Labor Day doesn’t have any songs, and it is still a fairly relevant holiday. But then again, Labor Day hasn’t become synonymous with kicking off the most selfish time of the year.

Thanksgiving, maybe you could pull strings, call the big retailers and get those doorbuster sales moved back to Labor Day. Then you’d be back the way you used to be, and we could make the Butterball hotline the most commercial thing about Thanksgiving.

And, we could be truly thankful we went back to celebrating one holiday at a time.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let your voice be heard below by commenting.

I Invite You to Enjoy Fall With Me

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI have come to love autumn. My appreciation for the colors and crisp air has grown as I have nestled firmly into the throes of middle age.

Fall is a time of celebration for me. It’s when I mow the yard for the last time of the year. It’s when the heat pump doesn’t run for days at a time. It’s the season when we set our clocks back, and daybreak comes when daybreak should.

Some of you will enjoy it with me, but many will not. For some reason, we simply seem to be incapable of savoring this magical time before Thanksgiving.

Here’s proof. Last Friday — which was Oct. 30 — someone asked me if I had finished my Christmas shopping.

Are you kidding? At the time, I hadn’t even bought Halloween candy.

Come to think of it, I’m not entirely sure which Christmas she was even referring to.

The Christmas season should not start until after all the leftover turkey sandwiches have been eaten, period. But, again this year, I saw Christmas decorations in stores in September.

Why can’t we enjoy Thanksgiving as the stress-free day it should be?

We don’t gloss over Memorial Day by buying our Independence Day picnic supplies in May. We don’t have Valentine’s Day chocolates sitting around everywhere before we ring in the new year.

It would be different if we Christians couldn’t wait for Dec. 1 because it meant we were going to go out of our way to love thy neighbor in the spirit of the season.

Instead, with all the stresses involved with the way we do it these days, we become even snippier toward each other than we are during the rest of the year.

And, why are we stressed? We’re stressed because we’re busy plotting our strategy to buy the cheap black-Friday 50-inch flat-screen TV before thy neighbors do.

A couple of national retailers have made news this year because they have announced they will not be open on Thanksgiving. We’re supposed to be happy about this, and I suppose I am.

You won’t find me jumping up and down about it, because it never should have been an issue to begin with. It’s like hugging a total stranger in a parking lot just because they didn’t ding your car door.

When I was a child, one of my fondest holiday activities was when we would unpack my three Christmas Little Golden Books and my big “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” book – which had felt glued on the front cover for Santa’s hat and Rudolph’s nose.

It was magical to read them. And, I appreciated it more simply because they never appeared until December – though I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time.

Most weeks when I sit down to write this piece, I end up gravitating toward pointing out how much better things were “back in the day.”

Obviously, this week is no exception. In fact, as long as I’ve been doing this, I have written a similar take on the same subject each year, hopefully with a few original thoughts here and there.

This year, though, I did it earlier than ever.

But, I’m still going to enjoy fall. And, I invite you to do the same.

I Always Loved Thanksgiving, Until…

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsWell…Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning the World Series this year.

I was pulling for the Kansas City Royals, so I really couldn’t care less. But out of respect for my love and appreciation for the game of baseball, I will at least “tip my hat” to the team from California.

I hate California…always will!

We are quickly approaching the holiday where everyone sits around and eats way too much. Then we take a nap and watch a little television and…eat way too much, again!

We are about to celebrate the holiday better known as…”Thanksgiving”.

I have always loved Thanksgiving.

I can remember, growing up in Chicago, we would get out of school at noon on Wednesday. So we had Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday off! It was GREAT!

My mother, God rest her soul, always cooked a HUGE meal for our family every Thanksgiving.

We had the whole works! Turkey, dressing…(the kind with chopped up hard boiled eggs in it)…sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry salad and the best homemade pumpkin pie you ever did eat!!  MMMM…MMMM!!!

I have always loved Thanksgiving!

We could sleep in on Thursday morning and wake up only to head downstairs and watch television. Cartoons or football seemed to be the “programming” for the day.

I don’t ever remember eating breakfast the morning of Thanksgiving.

By the time I got out of bed, it was not but a couple hours until the big meal of the day would be served.

One other thing stands out in my mind about the Thanksgiving meal. My dad was the ONLY one that could carve the Turkey.

There were many years we had other family members over for Thanksgiving.

There were many years we had members of the church congregation over for Thanksgiving.

But one thing stayed “constant” year, after year, after year at Thanksgiving. NOBODY else laid a hand on that big ole bird except my father!

If there were ever an award to be given out for who did the best job at carving the turkey on Thanksgiving, my father would have been the winner on multiple occasions!!

He knew just how to cut up that turkey so that every single piece of meat would be used up and there would be NO waste whatsoever.

Me personally…I always, and still do, prefer the white meat to the dark. Don’t ask me why. I have no real reason. It just “looks” better, I guess.

I have ALWAYS loved Thanksgiving!

Well…I have always loved Thanksgiving…until almost 4 years ago. After that, I really couldn’t care less if I ever celebrate another Thanksgiving the rest of my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the true meaning of the holiday itself. “Giving Thanks”. That is what it is all about anyhow. I have a lot to be thankful for. We all do.

For that part of the holiday, I am happy to see that day come around.

However, when it comes to sitting down and enjoying a meal of all the aforementioned foods that appear on the dining room table and the laughter and eating until you feel like you can explode…I have no desire to celebrate Thanksgiving ever again.

You see, Thanksgiving of 2010, I had the very last meal with my mom that I would ever have again.

Let me share with you my story.

My mom was a patient/resident at Signature Healthcare Center in Cleveland, TN. She could not leave the nursing home due to her condition of Alzheimer’s/Dementia.

It was Thanksgiving Day. My aunt Vie, mom’s sister, and my cousin Sheri were both in town. Sheri and Aunt Vie had fixed a huge Thanksgiving meal at my mom and dad’s house that morning. They were all going to eat around noon that day.

I had other plans than eating with them.

I wanted them to bring two plates of food to the nursing home that day so that my mother and I could have our Thanksgiving meal in her room.

My mom was having a really good day that particular Thanksgiving. She was feeling good and she was in really good spirits. I wanted to be with her. I wanted to share a “Thanksgiving Dinner” with my mom on that day.

We had an incredible time…just the two of us. Sheri and Aunt Vie brought over Turkey, dressing (again, the kind with hard boiled eggs chopped up inside), sweet potato casserole, rolls, green beans, deviled eggs like only my Aunt Vie can make and two different kinds of pie that day.

The meal was INCREDIBLE!! The company I had for lunch that day was even GREATER!!

I was sharing Thanksgiving with my mom…and it was AWESOME.

Then, the very next day, my mom took a turn for the worse.

She would go to bed on Thanksgiving night of 2010 and never get up again.

She would only tell us that she was not feeling well and she mostly slept a lot. She seemed very weak and would only continue to get weaker as the next several days and couple of weeks approached.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my dad and I went to see the SEC Championship football game in Atlanta. The Auburn Tigers were playing that year. We both wanted to go see Cam Newton play a game during his final season, before he went pro.

We went by the nursing home that morning and my mom was totally not herself. I can fully remember leaving there that day telling my dad…something is wrong with mom. She is failing fast.

It was two weeks later, December 14, 2010 at 4:56 a.m. that my mom would take her final breath on earth and her first breath in Heaven.

Just two short weeks after having one of the best times with my mom, sharing Thanksgiving dinner together, she would depart this world…and join her family and friends that had gone on before her.

So you see, Thanksgiving just does not mean that much to me anymore. As a matter of fact, I try my best to “avoid” doing anything that day. I would rather stay at home, by myself, and just fix a hot dog or hamburger on the grill and watch a little football or a re-run of Imus in the Morning Show.

I can only imagine the feast that my mom has in Heaven this year on Thanksgiving.

I would imagine there would be the most incredible turkey dinner with all the fixins!

I just wonder one thing. The dressing with the Turkey… is it the kind with hard boiled eggs chopped up inside?? I sure hope so. My mom loved that kind.

If there is a kitchen in Heaven, my mom will be there Thanksgiving morning.

Just one thing. They need to find someone else to carve the Turkey. I am not letting my dad go for many, many years!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Until next time…

An Open Apology to Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, try serving up a meal like this instead of walloping the person who cuts in front of you to get the last Xbox. (Photo by Cloned Milkmen / CC BY)

Dear Thanksgiving,

We know things have been tough for you lately, and I for one am sorry.

You were always the most restful holiday. We’d get up, watch the parade, maybe travel over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s while the sun burned the frost into fog along the countryside. Hickory smoke wafted from chimneys. There were no gifts to worry about and not much traffic. There was no pressure to look good in a bathing suit for you. You were perfect. How could we screw you up so badly?

I know you hate the word “doorbusters” as much as I do. I know you hate Black Friday. But I also know you now hate pre-Black Friday even worse. Thanks Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Target, Kohl’s, etc., etc., and unfortunately… etc.

“Don’t wait ’til Thanksgiving to shop… Shop at the Thanksgiving Now Sale,” the Belk commercial said on the Monday morning before Thanksgiving.

We shouldn’t blame it all on the retailers, though. We feed the monster. Blame those who strap on the pads, find the one credit card that isn’t maxed out and get up at 4 a.m., only to buy an $8 flatscreen — even though we don’t need another television at any price. Somewhere, one of us will get trampled busting through the door in the dark. Countless others will lose control and fight over the last Xbox, still reeking of giblet gravy. I hope people in other countries don’t watch the US news on Thanksgiving night. We’re greedy, we’re sad, we’re lemmings; it would be nice to keep that little secret in the family.

How did we let it happen? Maybe you need your own songs. That couldn’t hurt. Has anyone ever written you a song? If they have I don’t know it. And if they did now, it would probably be called “‘Twas the day before Black Friday.” What even rhymes with doorbusters anyway? Of course, Labor Day doesn’t have any songs, and it is still a fairly relevant holiday. But then again, Labor Day hasn’t become a token day off from work now known primarily for kicking off the most selfish time of the year.

Thanksgiving, maybe you could pull strings, call the Wal-Marts of the world and get those doorbuster sales moved back to Labor Day. Then you’d be back the way you used to be, and we could make the Butterball hotline the most commercial thing about Thanksgiving.

If that worked, maybe we could try to get the spirit of Christmas back, too.

 

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