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Tomorrow, families across America will gather together for the traditional Thanksgiving feast. There will be turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and of course pumpkin pie. For a few short hours these families will laugh over burnt turkeys from Thanksgivings past and recall cherished memories of yesterday. Then, the festivities will come to an end and many families will part ways for another year.
I can remember when I was a kid my momma would read to me from a thick, green book the story of the first Thanksgiving. The pages were yellowed with time and as she turned the page, the musty smell of old book crinkled my nose.
After reading the story of the first Thanksgiving, she would turn the page to a poem entitled “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day.”
For moms, I would venture to guess you have to continuously strive to keep a child’s interest and nothing could keep my interest quite as much as when Momma would sing those first few lines, that even today I know by heart.
“Over the river and through the wood, oh how the wind does blow. It stings the toes and bites the nose as over the ground we go. Over the river and through the wood to have a first-rate play, hear the bells ring, ‘ting-a-ling-ding,’ Hurrah for Thanksgiving day.”
As a kid, Thanksgiving meant little to me. I would watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and long for the end, when Jolly ‘Ol Saint Nick would make his grand appearance. And from that moment on, all I could think about was Christmas Eve – regardless of how much turkey and mashed potatoes were on hand.
Now that I’ve gotten older, Santa and his eight tiny reindeer don’t seem to be quite as important as they once were, and Thanksgiving holds a lot more meaning than it once did.
When I look around, I see a world of things I’m thankful for. I’m aware that not all children are blessed with a loving mother willing to read stories and sing songs to them; or a father who continuously looks out for his kids and makes sure they have everything they need; or a brother who always looks out for his little sister and makes her laugh whenever she’s down.
Hundreds of people throughout America will spend their Thanksgiving homeless and hungry; many elderly will spend their day alone, missing the one who made their Thanksgiving worthwhile for so many years; and in other countries, many will never understand the meaning of Thanksgiving nor will they ever know the true meaning of freedom.
So this Thanksgiving, no matter what life seems to throw at you, remember there’s always someone less fortunate than you, and perhaps you can brighten their day with a smile or a simple “hello.” Give them something to be thankful for, if only for a moment.