A Magical Thanksgiving
When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of myself as a young boy, watching the Thanksgiving parade on television; mom busy in the kitchen preparing our Thanksgiving dinner, and the feeling of love all around. I remember a gray, cold, and cloudy day; the steamy windows that cooking made and snowflakes in the air. This was my best Thanksgiving ever. I was 9 years old. It would become the Thanksgiving Day to which all other Thanksgiving Days would be compared. It was also to be my mom’s last Thanksgiving, although none of us knew it then.
In my memory I can see my dad in his chair, reading the newspaper, my sister, all of seven years old, helping mom in the kitchen, and me in my innocence, unaware of what precious memories were unfolding. And as I remembered that Thanksgiving Day, I felt the warmth of the love that only family can provide. Life was so simple then. My entire world consisted of a very small house, on a very quiet street, in a very peaceful little town on the shores of Lake Erie. It was all I needed then; everything was perfect in that little house on that Thanksgiving Day… a day that seems now so long ago and so far away.
One year later my world would be turned upside down and it would never quite be the same again. Mom died just a few days before Thanksgiving the very next year.
Those memories are decades old now. Yet, I compare every Thanksgiving to that magical and perfect one. It’s funny how some events in your life make an indelible mark on your memory that doesn’t fade no matter how much time passes. And, it’s always the things that do not seem so important when you’re experiencing them that often turn out to be the ones you remember most. It seems to me that the most precious memories are not planned, they just happen.
I’m not sure I will ever have a Thanksgiving like that one again. Maybe because that day has been honed in my memory so long it seems better now than it was. But, I’m thankful that I have that memory because I can relive that special Thanksgiving every year. I can feel the love and the warmth. Although it is said that you cannot bring back what is gone, I disagree: It comes again each year at this time and I feel the warmth and love of that memory. It is one of the things that I am most thankful for. I hope that my children will look back someday and feel the same about a day that I have given them. Special moments happen; you cannot plan them.
I bet most of you have memories like mine. That ever-so-slight pause in “the now” that allows you to drift back to a time long ago when the world was a little quieter, life a little simpler, and everything a little more innocent and perfect. Allow yourself to experience the evanescent yet wonderful pleasure of it. I think that the Holiday Season is the best time for reliving the most precious memories and for making new ones.
In today’s world where a person’s worth is apparently measured by his or her wealth, not one of the things for which I am most thankful is material. It is not the cars, houses, boats, stocks, bonds, computers, in fact, it is not the “things” I have at all. The truth is: It is those fleeting moments, those fragments of dreams, those passing glimmers of hope, the lasting love of family and friends, and those priceless golden memories that are my most precious treasures.
It seems to me so very strange that we spend most of our lives in pursuit of “things”. Indeed, we work most of our lives to acquire them. We spend time away from our loved ones working, making ends meet, and seeking to achieve some glorious financial success however elusive it may be. Ironically, wealth cannot buy a single one of the most valuable things. And, how sad that some never learn that simple, elegant, and lasting truth.
Anyone can accumulate “things”, but until and unless you have acquired the real treasures in life, the love of family, friends, and beautiful memories of special moments, you really have nothing at all.
This Thanksgiving, try to be thankful for all the things that you do have and be most thankful for those things money cannot buy — they are the most valuable “things” of all.
We hope all of you make beautiful new memories this year. Remember that the most special memories will be the ones that were never planned.
We wish you all a very happy, blessed, and magical Thanksgiving.