by Lee Louise
Today, Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in the U.S. And so, today we ate turkey, succotash, cranberry salad, and pumpkin pie, and maybe also lasagna, and macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato pie, if we are from the MidSouth. We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. We greeted each other with wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving, or maybe just a “Happy Turkey Day.”
When I woke up today, I was not particularly happy. My feet hurt. They always hurt in the morning these days. And so, I pondered on this philosophical conundrum as I sat on the edge of my bed, convincing myself that I could stand up, while asking myself unanswerable questions. What, precisely, is meant by a “happy” Thanksgiving? What part does happiness play in a Thanksgiving celebration? Do we have to be happy to give thanks? Were the Pilgrims happy that their harvest was dangerously diminished in that famous 3-day feast? (I doubt it.) Does it mean today that we are happy to be thankful? Or thankful to be happy? Or, are the turkeys happy?
I will admit that I don’t have any answers to these questions, and so I looked at the history of the holiday.
By presidential Proclamation 118 in October 1864, Abraham Lincoln set apart “the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”
I am thankful that we do not have leftover turkey tonight. I am thankful that there are no bags of leftover turkey in the freezer, coming back as turkey surprise next year. (Surprise! It’s turkey! Again!) I am thankful that even though my feet may hurt, my hands can still knit.
I give thanks for the blessings I have and, as I count my blessings, I am happier. And, I hope that you all had a Joyous Thanksgiving Day.