Lori’s putting the turkey in the oven, Andrea is at the North-South football game — known locally as the Turkey Bowl, Grant is playing video games, Strudel is lounging on the couch, and I’m halfway listening to the Turkey Bowl on the radio while perusing the web for Thanksgiving inspiration.

This is my kind of Thanksgiving: home with family, relaxed, no agenda, plentiful and delicious food, contentment and gratitude.

Thinking of the abundance of our Thanksgiving table, I recall the story a Chinese colleague told me just last week, a memory from his early youth during Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution:

Forced to move to the country for re-education, his family lived in deprivation. A chicken was such a luxury that getting one was much anticipated and discussed by the family in the days before it was cooked. The bird was made to last for several meals; only the bones, if those, were discarded. In the days after the last of the chicken was savored, the family discussed how good it had been and how much they enjoyed it — until, in time, they could begin anticipating another chicken to cook.

The story of the original American Thanksgiving is one of a feast following hardship. My mother, who grew up during the Great Depression, knew deprivation, although probably not hunger. Thankfully, I can only empathize with my colleague’s experience, as I have not faced serious want. Nor my children, and I hope they never will.

On this day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my abundant blessings while reflecting upon all those who, through no personal choice, are forced to do without. I wish it were not so.

Send to Kindle