Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | November 24, 2003

Hooray for Turkey Day

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” – Author Aldous Huxley

Well it’s almost time for another Turkey Day – and I’m ready for it. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Who can argue with the wisdom of counting one’s blessings? The practice is surely something we Americans, especially, don’t indulge in often enough, especially given how blessed we are.

I don’t know how Thanksgiving’s managed to escape it, but has largely avoided the commercial trappings associated with so many other holidays. Thanksgiving catalogs don’t stuff our mailboxes, Hallmark doesn’t sell many Turkey-shaped cards, kids don’t expect a hollow chocolate turkey to be delivered by a fictional fairy or anthropomorphized critter.

Then there’s the food: Turkey’s fine, but for me, the holiday is all about the mashed potatoes. I know, I know, the starchy root is passé in these low-carbohydrate-crazed times, but potatoes – especially mashed – are one of my top three comfort foods, along with chocolate and Coca-Cola. (That’s not good news for my dentist, I’m sure, who no doubt would much rather see me list sugarless gum, diet soda and cheese … but more about my dentist in a minute.) I’m such a fan of mashed potatoes that I skip the dressing and cranberry-whatever on Thanksgiving in favor of another helping of mashed potatoes, much preferring to spend my calories there.

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much good to anyone.” – author Gertrude B. Stein

But besides mashed potatoes, chocolate and Coke, there are other things I’m thankful for this year. And since I’m in complete agreement with Ms. Stein on silent gratitude, I’ll share of few of my less traditional blessings with you:

Especially in this tough job market, I’m thankful I’m not a CBS programming executive. Given the recent spate of last-minute sweeps cancellations – such as The Reagans miniseries and the Michael Jackson special – it’s not a job I envy. I wouldn’t want to be working the hours of overtime needed to plug scheduling holes and attending endless meetings to explain to the higher-ups why these programs were thought to be good ideas in the first place.

Even though I avoid his office at every opportunity, I’m thankful for my dentist. I’m not a fan of anything about the dental office experience, but I’m glad to have found a dentist who is patient with my fears (OK, my dental phobia) and willing to work with me to come to a dental hygiene compromise we can both live with. And although for most of my life I’ve been of the opinion that Steve Martin was not over the top in his portrayal of a sadistic dentist in “Little Shop of Horrors,” my dentist has given me cause to re-evaluate that position.

I’m thankful to be a convertible owner again. I bought a new-to-me but very used Miata this summer and have enjoyed tooling around town with the top down, taking full advantage of the fabulous convertible climate we’re blessed to call home. An unexpected bonus is that when I’m off to do a pedestrian errand – a quick trip to the grocery store or dry cleaners, for example – and I’d like a little company, I can usually convince one of my kids to come along with these four magic words: “We’ll take the Miata!”

I’m thankful that the Morgan Hill school district made the Thanksgiving break a five-day weekend this year, instead of the usual four. To “pay” for having that Wednesday before Thanksgiving off, the kids started school a day early, but it was a smart move. Especially my son, who’s adjusting to the heavy homework load that comes with the first year of middle school, five days of down time will be a very welcome break.

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” – Author Edward Sandford Martin

Most of all, I’m thankful for Thanksgiving. It’s an annual reminder of the importance, no, the essential nature of gratitude. It’s a lesson I hope to instill in my children right along with the Golden Rule. If I can teach my children to count their blessings instead of focusing on their burdens and help them to make treating others they way they’d like to be treated an instinctive act, then I will be one very happy and proud mother.

Have a delicious and gratitude-filled Thanksgiving.

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