Poem By Chuck Toll
Thanksgiving is a lazy, indolent day of sharing
Predictable yet tasty home-cooked dishes together
With equally predictable yet pleasant company,
A day when, if airports and highways are clogged,
At least the travelers share a common destination:
The bosom of their families.
Thanksgiving does not pressure third world children
To toil overtime producing hats or flags or swords,
Or stuffed animals with toxic innards, leaden trim,
And eyes that fall off which, if licked, promptly morph
Into insidious drugs. It is the one time in the year
When we stick to the basics.
Thanksgiving is mainly about being part of a family,
Not gift giving, expansive parties or romantic dinners.
We don’t head for warm beaches overhung by palms.
Or go on liquor-sodden junkets to gaming casinos.
No special clothing need be purchased to observe
This homespun holiday.
Thanksgiving is when squabbling siblings may pause
Their mutual torturing, when truculent teens may emerge
From their gloom long enough to speak civilly, if briefly,
To astonished parents, and when the men may retire
To watch football on TV, dishes unwashed, without
Their women feeling abused.
Easter, Memorial Day, the 4th and Labor Day have all
Succumbed to ad campaigns and the national mania
For buying ‘stuff.’ St. Nick has watched his Christmas
Bloat into a three-month season of its own, marked
By sales, special hours and extra staff who urge us
To spend beyond our means.
Save for an appreciative glance at how a cousin
Now fills her blue jeans, this is an innocent holiday.
More thought should be given, more action taken,
For those whose lives leave little grounds for thanks.
But it feels good to be part of a family with a past;
Our thanks, if shallow, are sincere.
It’s true the week does not begin auspiciously.
Children dressed as Indians and Pilgrims are led
From photo-ops in the gym to homeroom feasts
Where doting parents help teachers and principals
To dispense inaccurate history and colonial fare
In plastic plates and Dixie cups.
The week ends even worse as stores start their sales
Before the holiday dishes have even cooled. Instantly,
We find ourselves swept up by a level 5 hurricane that
Buffets the land for weeks.. But in the hurricane’s eye
Thanksgiving has lived again, simple joys and warmth
Aglow like a Norman Rockwell painting.
Two days ago I helped some neighborhood boys
Make cranberry sauce. Watching their shared delight
As sugar dissolved and berries burst, I wondered how
Wm Bradford’s little celebration in a brave new world
Could be put to better use, helping us to learn and live
A broader sense of 'family.'