Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving -- It's a Tradition

Thanksgiving is perhaps the most American and most traditional of all holidays celebrated in the United States. Older than the nation itself, the roots of this tradition run deep. On the fourth of December in 1619, Captain John Woodlief led thirty-eight newly arrived colonists to a grassy knoll along the James River and instructed them to drop to their knees and pray in thanksgiving for their safe journey to the new world. That day, the men of Berkely Parrish proclaimed that "We ordain that the day of our ship's arrival at the place of plantation in the land of Virginia shall be yearly kept as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God. Two years later, in 1621, another group of English Colonists celebrated their bounteous harvest with a feast of Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is from this celebration that we get elements of the tradional menu of turkey, cranberry sauce, corn pudding, and pumpkin pie. Family has always been part of the tradition, and somewhere along the line football got added to become an essential part of the feast, as did shopping the day afterward. My personal Thanksgiving tradion is to write a list of things large and small for which I am truely grateful. The big things are easy: life, the love of my family, interests and ideas, continued employment, friends and shared experiences. This year, I am very thankful for two weeks in Alaska with my wife and her sister and brother-in-law. As a result of those two weeks, I find myself newly thankful for bears, both black and grizzly, and for wolves, carribou and moose. I refer to my list throughout the year whenever I need an attitude adjustment. For me, that's the important part of thanksgiving: the conscious act of remembering, recording, and giving thanks. I am, among all people, most richly blessed, And most profoundly grateful.