By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Gobble, gobble! It’s that time of the year again — that time where we set our tables with our nicest china and our homes are filled with the warm smells of butter, thyme, cinnamon, pumpkin, cranberry and citrus as we prepare a feast fit for royalty. It’s Thanksgiving!
I may have mentioned once or twice before that Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday. I mean, giving and getting gifts at Christmas is pretty good, and Halloween allows both the young and young-at-heart to enjoy a little whimsy while they play dress up, but for me, Thanksgiving is my warm, happy place.
Most years, we’re lucky to finally be enjoying a respite from summer’s heat by the time turkey day rolls around. There’s something comforting about walking in from the crisp chill outside into a warm house glowing bright with light and filled with the smells of a Thanksgiving meal in the works.
Then there’s the meal itself. The traditional Thanksgiving menu is nothing but comfort foods: turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and other dishes loaded up with carbs, butter and maybe even some cheese. Then there’s the pies! Pumpkin, apple, cherry, Texas pecan and more served up a la mode or topped with whipped cream. Thanksgiving ain’t for the faint of heart, nor the faint of stomach!
But of course, the food is just the backdrop. The true purpose of Thanksgiving is fellowship and reflection.
We reconnect with our loved ones, family and friends, both. We catch up on our individual goings-on, and share in laughter as we share a table. That’s the fellowship.
But we also take a moment to think on the blessings we’ve received, the trials we have overcome and the things we have yet to face. That’s the reflection.
This year seems to have been a particularly arduous one in many ways. Many of the folks I’ve talked to share similar stories of having felt particularly stressed and anxious this year. Part of it seems to stem from the endless news cycle where it seems the stories of violence and loss outnumber the stories that uplift and affirm. This season’s particularly bitter election cycle figures into that news-induced anxiety, too. But part of it also seems to be that many people have gone through personal trials and struggles this year, as well.
There’s the old cliché about how, when it rains, it pours. And maybe that’s what’s happening here. Maybe it’s just a coincidence and confluence of unfortunate events, or maybe it’s just become hard for us to see the good because we have become mired in focusing on the bad.
For those of us who have been struggling this year, it may feel impossible to get into the holiday spirit now that Thanksgiving is upon us, but it is at this very moment where it’s absolutely essential to try. It helps, I promise.
So, as you sit down amongst your family and friends this Thanksgiving, speak aloud something you are thankful for, even if it’s something small. As you hear the things those around you are thankful for, you’ll find your own perspective changing for the positive. And that’s a start.
I’m thankful for you who are reading this right now. Happy Thanksgiving.
Editor’s Note: This Writer’s Block column originally appeared in the PRESS just after the November 2016 General Election. After another tumultuous and headline-making election cycle, it seems especially relevant to take a moment to reflect with thankfulness for those whom we love on both sides of the aisle.
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