Make Gratitude Contagious

November is a happy month designated for gratitude, and never more than now has our nation needed that.

November is the new October. We can be grateful that, with any luck, we will finally be able to turn off the air conditioning.

Our trees will turn autumnal in Texas while the Northeastern fall foliage is long gone.

Despite the Christmas decorations, with good humor, we can try to stay focused on that uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving.

We’ve taken the old Puritan holiday of giving thanks for providential good fortune, the bounty of a good harvest, and morphed it into a holiday. We are no longer a nation of farmers, yet we are a bountiful land. Give thanks. It’s why so many want to come here.

“Be grateful. It’s contagious.” -Len Bourland

Our history of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock and having a feast with the friendly natives may be part fact, part myth, but who doesn’t remember dressing up in some grade school reenactment including songs such as “Come ye thankful people come?”

George Washington proclaimed Nov. 26, 1789, a day of national thanksgiving for the formation of our new government and freedom.

In November of 1863, Abraham Lincoln also proclaimed a national Thanksgiving. Yet the date was not legislated as a national holiday until Franklin D. Roosevelt made it the next to last Thursday in November (allegedly for business reasons). A day to feast and give thanks.

Norman Rockwell rendered what a Thanksgiving table should resemble: a big turkey with lots of sides and the relatives to partake.

It’s one of my favorite holidays because it’s about a shared meal. Gone are the days when a team of women spent the day in the kitchen orchestrating this production, while the kids watched the Macy’s parade on TV. The lines at Honeybaked Ham and the big box stores, as well as groceries and restaurants, are a testament to assembling rather than cooking the feast consumed during halftime of a favorite televised football team.

During dessert, some still draw names for a family member for those who are looking ahead at Christmas shopping.

Other blessings? It’s no longer necessary to fight the lines at the mall sales the day after Thanksgiving, thanks to online shopping.

The national elections are an entire year away, so avoid politics.

Just be happy the weather’s nice enough for the kids to go outside to play. Be grateful. It’s contagious.

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