Monday, November 24, 2008


I have always been a sucker for Thanksgiving. I recognize all the political problems associated with its history, but I cannot hate it, and I most certainly cannot celebrate "Day of Mourning." It is one of the things that's most American about me. The telling of the holiday's history has been corrupted and sanitized, but most history has, and unlike some other things whose history has been corrupted and sanitized, I value the present incarnation of Thanksgiving.

Personally, I have never a negative Thanksgiving experience; the worst I can ever recall was when I was seven years old, ate too much, and threw up on the way home. I always feel I belong to something, some kind of community, that matters on Thanksgiving: a family, an apartment, a collection of friends, past winners of the "Drunk Uncle" competition. Probably it is fairly common for people to spend Thanksgiving alone, but in my experience it's rare for someone to go without an invitation. It's a time when people decide to be with people, to celebrate those connections. And it's a time when people celebrate what they have.

You can politically deconstruct that all you want, but I don't feel like it.

I'm hitting the road with several members of my family tomorrow—sister, father, cousin—to join other members of our family in downstate Illinois. (First time I've hit the state since I moved away from it.) I may or may not be able to post, though I might schedule the posting of a Friday Poetry since I just figured out how to do that. In either case, I want to post a few things I'm thankful for. Ten, to be exact. Feel free to add.

1. I am thankful that I can rely on my family's love. It doesn't always come in the forms I want or expect, but, well, love doesn't. I am tremendously fortunate that it's always there.

2. I am thankful that Obama was elected, and almost equally thankful that he's already flip-flopping and doing things I find sketch and politically unpleasant. The next four years would be really boring otherwise.

3. I am thankful for vegetables. I am realizing ever more how amazing they are. I can't wait to eat even more of them than I usually do on Thursday.

4. I am thankful for the ways in which my new chronic disease can be managed; I am thankful that there's more than one way, and that I can and have learned a great deal about them already, and that not all of them are created by pharmaceutical conglomerates.

5. I am thankful for pie.

6. I am thankful for my friends and their amazing, amazing brains. I have complained about being lonely in New York, and I am, but such is my lot at the moment; it remains my good fortune to love so many people who challenge me so well and so deeply, and conversations with whom always change me.

7. I am particularly thankful for Tyromaven a week ago Friday.

8. I am thankful for the poetry of Stephen Dunn. It's a li'l redundant to say that on this blog, but it's one of the pillars of my scaffold.

9. I am thankful for my father's car. Flying on Thanksgiving is purgatorial.

10. I am thankful that, even sometimes, I have gotten to do work I love.


At 10:50 AM, Blogger tyromaven said...

yay, gladness!
This is my first thanksgiving home in 10 years. It's quietly good. Much love to you in your travels, r.

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Lonin said...

and, you know, i'm also really *thankful* for the transformation of thanksgiving, that it's managed to become something completely different from its tribal roots (hell, you know, the pilgrims as a "tribe", why not) and, for mostly that very reason, a hell of a lot more valuable.

... christmas, too, actually, although in this case i think it's something subtler. i remember going to a party for Boxing Day, the holiday celebrated in England and Canada the day after Christmas, back in 2002, and that was just a simple gift-exchanging event, but surrounded by all the christmas paraphernalia, it seemed like a better expression of the new and i daresay improved spirit of Christmas than Christmas Day itself was. well... maybe really a large part of it is just being surrounded by bright colors and harmonic sounds -- and maybe lots of it isn't actually new at all, but just a return to the pre-christian elements of the holiday -- but i bet the winter solstice celebrations thousands of years ago were never as bright as this, and i have to say i think there's really something there beyond or behind all the rampant juggernaut commercialism, something serious about christmas that you don't at all have to be christian (and i certainly feel like i'm not christian) to enjoy as part of your own. now if only there were some good *songs* about it....

on the flipside, i really can't much stand what modern culture is doing to Halloween. but i guess if i didn't say that, what i was saying above wouldn't be much believable anyway. so... happy christmas and a merry thanksgiving, then, all 'round, from me to you...!!


(oh, but, you know, i just want to say, that i'd have to say that if politics starts becoming boring again... i'd for one be exceedingly *grateful*. thankful, even. the situation as it is, with everybody obsessed about the presidential campaign two years out of every four, nearly... why, that's just *untenable*!)


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