Here we are in the throes of Thanksgiving. I love this month. I love having everybody over and sampling their cooking and playing “Take 2” with scrabble tiles. I even love the dirty dishes, as you know. I love the weather and that we can go for a saunter in the sunshine and sit in the jacuzzi at night under the stars with just a little bit more pie.
That one is a new tradition. We put as many people as we can in the spa until there’s no more water in it.
“Why not?” is what you should be asking.
One year I was inspired to go a little bit outside the usual box for Thanksgiving. Normally when I suggest such a thing, my family responds with a great deal of eye rolling and long exasperated sighs.
“There goes Mom again,” they say sadly, “can’t just eat turkey and get on with it. Has to make a production out of stuff.”
This is why I’ve been serving spaghetti for twenty years instead of chicken cordon bleu and veal with wine reduction sauce and capers. Because they’re a lot of barbarians, that’s why. Not a grain of culture among them.
I snuck it in anyway by using a bribe they couldn’t resist: fire.
Even a caveman will hold still and stare at fire.
Our large group spread out in a circle in the living room and everyone held a candle with a drip catcher on it. I lit mine and said something I was thankful for. It could be anything large or small, personal or general. No pressure. Just mention something and we’ll give you an ‘amen’.
It so happened we had been in a major car crash that year and although our car had been totaled from three directions, all five of us basically walked away untouched. So I started us off with something obvious.
The flame was passed around the room, each person lighting his candle from the previous one, mentioning his gratitude and passing the torch, so to speak.
I gave myself a mental pat on the back. Just once I had finally managed to implement one of those cool ideas from Martha Stewart, Pinterest, or the glossy magazine articles that tell you how to make family memories.
**sigh** said the cockles of my heart. They were toasty.
The flame had almost completed the circle when it was tiny Tim’s turn. I could see he’d been thinking deeply about his moment of fame and when the spotlight finally landed at his feet, he took a deep breath and enthusiastically blurted out,
“I’m thankful for the midgets!”
Hey, there’s no judging here.
Even the midgets got a hearty ‘amen’ and smiling contentedly, he lit the next guy’s candle.
This was not my personal tiny Tim, this was someone else’s, but he’s going down in our own family history as the kid who reminded us to think outside the box.
Especially if there might be midgets involved.
I’d like to leave you with a last thought as you work your way through your next piece of pie.
One of my favorite books is “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom.
It’s a tale of her family during Nazi occupation and her experiences in the prisons as a 52 year old woman.
Her elder, frail sister is leading a prayer circle deep in the rotting barracks and tells Corrie to be thankful for everything, even the fleas that are tormenting them at the moment.
Corrie scoffs at the idea. How can she be thankful for what seems like a horrible thing?
She finds out later that the reason their nightly prayer circles go unhindered and unpunished is specifically because their brutal captors can’t stand the fleas.
The fleas were allowing their thanksgiving to occur.
Here’s to an abundant and overflowing year.
May you pause once in a while to be thankful for it all.
May you have bounty enough to share with the next guy, whether its midgets or fleas or simply the flame of inspiration.