At this time of year, my family often participates in a ritual we started when our kids were little. We make a “Thankful Tree” for our living room wall. Its trunk and branches are made from rolled up brown paper shopping bags. We cut out leaves from red and yellow construction paper. Then family members take a stack of leaves and with a marking pen write down something on each one that we are personally thankful for that year. Once the leaves are all attached to the brown paper branches, we’re always surprised at how full and beautiful our tree has become. It’s a welcome reminder of how blessed a family we are.
As our family has grown up, we haven’t been able to make our Thankful Tree as often as we once did. But that doesn’t mean I can’t express my thankfulness in other ways. Like right here, for example:
I’m thankful for our goofy Labrador Retriever who thinks he belongs on the bed just as much as we do, and for our Golden Retriever who claims her spot up there before everybody else.
I’m thankful I’m not a turkey (although I have been called that more than a few times). Speaking of which, I’m exceedingly thankful for leftover turkey. And white bread and mustard. Some of the best things about Thanksgiving are the day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches. Dear goodness.
I’m thankful this holiday has its own ‘unofficial’ movie, 1987’s “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” I laugh my giblets off watching Neal Page (Steve Martin) and Del Griffith (the late John Candy) travel cross-country to make it home in time for Turkey Day. Although this is a hilarious comedy, by the end I’m always in tears. One caveat: the film is appropriately rated “R” for harsh language. Please watch accordingly. Then again, you can stand in front of most public schools today and hear the same or worse.
I’m thankful for pumpkin pie. And whipped cream. And French vanilla ice cream.And one more slice of pumpkin pie.
I’m thankful that my wife and I don’t have to use separate bathtubs outdoors under the trees like that couple in the Cialis commercials. What’s that about, anyway? Seeing them on TV, I always wonder what their neighbors think.
I’m thankful that on Friday, Nov. 27, we can start listening to our humongous collection of Christmas music. For me, one of the joys of the season (but not before Thanksgiving) is hearing Christmas collections from a huge variety of artists – from the quirky Klezmer song stylings of “Oy to the World!” (I’m not kidding) to Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Asleep at the Wheel, Andrea Bocelli, Roger Whittaker, the Gaither Vocal Band, Chris Tomlin, Brad Paisley, Lou Rawls, Perry Como and … well, I can smell pine trees, peppermint and hot chocolate just thinking about it. I mean, how can you not want to listen to an album titled, “Let it Snow, Baby – Let it Reindeer,” by the band Reliant K?
I’m thankful for cold nights and warm flannel sheets (our dogs agree).
I’m thankful for porcupine meatballs. (Don’t worry, no porcupines are harmed in the making of this favorite comfort food.)
I’m thankful that retailers still haven’t figured out a way to make this one holiday all about profits yet.
I’m thankful for adult children who still seem to enjoy calling home every so often to see how their ‘first’ family is doing. I’m also grateful that the rest of us who still live under the same roof diligently and deliberately try to arrange our schedules so that we can all have dinner together as many nights as possible each week – to my wife and me, it’s a gift beyond measure.
Last but not least, I’m thankful we get to meet like this every week. Hopefully, you are, too. Until next time, I’ll see you ‘round town.
Jim Chase is a lifelong CV resident and freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.