Thanksgiving in 2016

Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving, and I hope everyone enjoyed their time off work, spent relaxing with family and eating good food. 

It’s typical on Thanksgiving that people spend a little time reflecting on their year, and acknowledging what they’re thankful for. Usually people don’t have a hard time coming up with stuff: friends, family, God, and the weather are always accessible answers. But nonetheless, I know a lot of people had a particularly hard time this year.

John Oliver, in his grandiloquent exposition, encapsulated the attitude toward 2016 that I’ve seen from dozens of people. We saw the stock-market decline, artists die, diseases spread, terrorists attack, and half the nation be devastated by the election. Of course the latter was the hardest thing for me because it meant trashing my zinger blog title “Not Done with Trump” that I was saving for when he lost the primary, or later for the election. (It would be about the ever present demographic that his success insinuated.)

And then last night, I was chatting with my dad who joined me at Lauren’s family’s Thanksgiving meal. I knew earlier that week he had driven out to see his father who is struggling with dementia and living in an assisted-living home. My dad’s hands ceased their animation as he told me about his visit. In a room with several other families making similar visits, he sat with his father and his brother’s family. At one point the others at the table started their own conversation, and my dad turned to chat with just his father. With a smile, his father told him all about his good son, Jimmy, the pilot who would be moving to Lubbock soon. My father, nodding his head, sat there and listened as his own father failed to recognize his son’s face.

Thanksgiving is a mysterious transaction, however. It is not a zero-sum game. The math doesn’t work. The fact that I get to play Monopoly (and get beat), that I can eat too much delicious food—like, too much—or the fact that I can chat with my father at all is enough. Even in the midst of a horrible year, Thanksgiving raises our spirits and pushes us forward to the next.

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