When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
…If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.
~ Irving Berlin
In anticipation of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving turkey dinner, I’m sampling a glass of Rodney Strong Pinot Noir. If you like a dry red wine that has satisfying spice tones, this is pretty darned good. I’ll be taking a few bottles of this nice wine to the Thanksgiving dinner we’re attending.
At least that is the plan! It’s snowing right now in ‘my neck of the woods,’ and so we may be having our Thanksgiving feast at home – which would be fine, too. As insurance, we have a turkey ready to prepare as well as the fixings. Now we wait to see what the weather will decide to do.
I’ve always liked the night before Thanksgiving – perhaps because I am not usually required to prepare the feast! Not being an enthusiastic cook but quite an eager diner, one of the things I am thankful for is the kindness of friends. We have traditionally spent Thanksgiving with our best friends in Baltimore. They are, in fact, more like family than friends as our friendship has spanned decades.
Our hostess prepares a huge turkey for the fifteen of us that gather. We enjoy all sorts of goodies along with the turkey. There are usually several different kinds of dessert – and, of course, the lovely pinot noir that we will bring to tomorrow’s feast will be featured.
Prior to the meal, the host always says the Thanksgiving prayer. He asks God to bless our men and women in the military and keep them safe from harm, and he states simply and sincerely what we are very grateful for – the opportunity to gather together once again and enjoy the feast before us.
Corny isn’t so bad.
After the meal concludes, the men watch football while the kids play various board and video games. And we women make short work of the pots and pans used to prepare the feast. Holiday china and silver is carefully hand washed, and then dried and put away until used again at Christmas. Much merriment ensues during the cleanup, perhaps due to the wine we’ve imbibed.
It’s a happy time. We’re thankful for it.
Over the years, I’ve watched the attendees at this feast change.
Grandmothers, aunts and uncles have departed, leaving only memories. It’s bittersweet to put away the special china bowl given to my friend by her grandmother, remembering that lady’s gentle smile and how she always told every female in the house how pretty she was while giving her a warm hug.
That’s the thing about holidays. It’s not just the people who are sitting at the table whose presence you celebrate; it’s the people from your past who also come to mind. In some sense, they still sit at the table with you. You’re thankful for the memory.
This Thanksgiving as our host offers up the Thanksgiving prayer, I’ll remember again all the many reasons I have to be thankful.
I’m thankful that God has graced me with a good marriage to a man who is both husband and friend.
I’m thankful for the gift of enduring friendship – those friends still with me and those who’ve moved on, like my friend’s grandmother.
I’m thankful that geography does not define friendship and that I’ve made a wonderful friend who is very special to me even though she lives a few thousand miles across the ocean.
I’m thankful for good health.
I could go on about the job that takes care of my economic needs, the co-workers who make it fun and, in stressful times, bearable.
I could tell you how grateful I am for the gift of writing and the ability to share it on my blog – or how grateful I am for the internet which has made it possible to develop friendships with people I would have otherwise never gotten to know.
I’m thankful for the teachers who taught me how to read and who encouraged me to love books. Reading has been one of the chief joys of my life, and I’m very grateful for good books that entertain and enlighten me. God bless the story tellers!
I’m also thankful for my warm house that shelters and comforts me on cold, wintry nights. I’m grateful for the food on my table.
And that brings me back to the Thanksgiving feast…
In a world full of turmoil, fear and insecurity, it’s important to take a moment to be thankful. We are so much poorer when we fail to reflect on the people and the memories important to us, and so it’s good to lift a glass and remember to count our blessings. It’s so easy to take them for granted, the big ones and the small ones.
So in the quiet of this night before Thanksgiving, I lift my glass to each of you and wish you a lovely holiday. Make some memories that you’ll giggle over in the future or recall with warmth. Remember those who are no longer with you, but who are still so much a part of your life because they still reside within your heart.
Take a few minutes to offer up a prayer of thanks – or to pause for a moment to reflect on the things near and dear to you. Remember, life is precious and so are the moments we share together.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.