A Very Special Thanksgiving
When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of myself as a 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 gray, cold and cloudy days and the steamy windows that cooking made. And I remember Thanksgiving snowflakes in the air.
My best Thanksgiving ever came when I was 9 years old. It would become the Thanksgiving Day to which all my other Thanksgiving days would be compared. It was also was my mom’s last Thanksgiving, although none of us knew it would be 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 remember that Thanksgiving Day, I feel the warmth of the love that only a family can give. Life was so simple then. My entire world consisted of a tiny house, on a quiet street, in a very peaceful little village, situated quaintly on the shores of Lake Erie. My world, that world, was all I needed then. Everything was perfect in that very small house on Thanksgiving Day. A day that now seems so long ago — and so far away.
One year later my world would be turned upside down and it would never be the same again. Mom died just a few days before Thanksgiving the very next year. I was barely ten-years-old.
That perfect Thanksgiving was decades ago; I’ve had dozens of Thankgivings since. Yet, I compare every Thanksgiving to that magical and perfect one.
It’s funny how some events in life make an indelible mark on your memory, a mark that doesn’t fade no matter how many years pass. And, I’m reminded again, how it is always the things that aren’t planned, the ones that do not seem so important when you’re doing them, that often turn out to be the greatest moments of all, They are the ones you remember most often and the ones that live on the longest.
It seems to me that most precious memories are not planned, they just happen.
I’m not sure if I will ever have a Thanksgiving like that one again. I doubt it. Maybe because that day has been part of my memory so long it seems even better now that it really was. But, I’m thankful that I have that memory because I am now able relive that very special and precious Thanksgiving day every single year.
I still feel the love and the warmth of that day. Although some say you cannot bring back what is gone, I disagree. Every year that Thanksgiving returns and I, if only for just a fleeting moment, feel the warmth and love of my family, just as it was, on that very special Thanksgiving day, so long ago – and now so far away. It is one of the things that I am most thankful for every year at this time. I hope that my children will look back someday and feel the same about a day that I have given them.
Special moments just happen – you can’t plan them.
I bet most of you have memories like mine. That ever-so-slight pause in “the now” where you drift back to a time long ago when the world was a little quieter, life a little simpler, everything a little more innocent and the world just a bit more perfect. Allow yourself to relive the moment and enjoy the fleeting pleasure of it.
I think that the holiday season is the best time for reliving the most precious memories, as well as for making new ones.
In today’s world, where a person’s worth is often 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, or any of the “things” I possess that are important. My family and those special memories that live inside me, those bits and fragments of dreams, those passing glimmers of hope, and the lasting love of family and friends that are my most precious treasures.
It seems to me so very strange that we spend most of our lives in pursuit of “things”. We work so hard to acquire them. We spend so much time away from those we love, working and trying to make ends meet- trying to achieve financial success however elusive it proves to be. But wealth cannot buy a single one of the things that I value the most.
It is a tragedy that some will never learn that simple, elegant and lasting truth.
Anyone can accumulate “things”, but until and unless you have acquired the real treasures in life, you may find you have nothing at all.
So, this Thanksgiving, be thankful for the treasures you have. Your family and your friends are the most valuable things you’ll ever have. Give thanks. Be thankful for them.
We hope all of you make many beautiful new memories this year. Remember that the most special memories will be the ones that were not planned.
Do not think of the things you don’t have, think of all the blessings that you do have. Look at your treasures – your family, your friends, your children, your grandchildren, your memories. For where your treasure is, your heart will be there also.
Give thanks for all the blessings and the treasure you have.
Happy Thanksgiving. Make some beautiful memories this year.