One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is leftovers. For some reason everything tastes even better the next day. Maybe 24 hours gives the sage in the dressing and all spice in the pumpkin pie time to really do its work. When I was a kid Mom would bone the turkey into bite-sized pieces and hide them in the freezer. Every brown sack school lunch the next week would have white bread, mayonnaise, and almost-thawed-turkey sandwich. Fabulous!
By now most of the leftover turkey has been finished off or frozen, we’ve tackled Black Friday with Excel spread sheets and the relatives have gone back home. Peace on earth has returned, maybe.
Thanksgiving can set the stage for wonderful memories or a nightmarish 4 week dread of Christmas. And it’s all based on leftovers … not the food kind.
There’s a gloom that can creep in and stick like tree sap if we let it. The sheer adrenaline crash after the long weekend is enough to exhaust most of us. And dealing with a cracky, rude uncle, or a mother whose expectations will never be met, or entitled kids home from college will wear down the strongest. Those people may all be gone, but the snide, sarcastic comments and lack of consideration have left many just wanting to sleep until January 2.
My pastor friend Jim Fryer posted today, “There are over seven billion people on this earth. Are you going to let one person ruin your day?” I think that’s one way of asking if you’re going to let Aunt Martha’s comment about your tough pie crust or your dad’s joking about your lack of football skills hang around like spoiled leftovers.
So, toss all that in the trash and take it out. According to the music piped in at the mall “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. The exciting thing is we get to choose; recount our blessings and enjoy the holidays or nibble on emotional leftovers for the next month. What will you do?
I’ve often wondered what the first few Thanksgivings were like. I’m quite certain they didn’t look much like the paintings with everyone smiling, and clean in their Sunday best frocks. The pilgrims had survived more than thrived their first years on American soil and that survival was likely what they were most grateful for.
Do you think the head pilgrim made assignments for who was to hunt and shoot what for the feast and who was in charge of setting up tables and keeping the fires going? Who put together the seating chart? Do you suppose most of the women were known for certain dishes and everyone hoped that’s what they’d bring, kind of like at a church pot luck.
Over time Thanksgiving has morphed into a day of feasts, parades, and football. I know, for me, the thankful part gets lost for a while in the middle of making the dressing and sweet potato casserole. All that work and money to see how much can be eaten in 30 minutes.
We’re in Virginia with Jill, David and Vivian for Turkey Day this year. There will be eight adults and three children for a late lunch. I’m curious with all there is to be done for a small group, what Thanksgiving is like with the Dugger family. They surely rent out an event hall or at least do take out from Bob Evans.
Each year I’m a little more reflective, probably because there’s more to reflect on. So much has happened since this time last year, a lot of it wonderful with the not so good and happy sprinkled in. But, I’m still grateful … grateful for my health, grateful for my family, grateful for a gracious God. Happy Thanksgiving!
“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.” Seneca