Today, all across the nation, families are getting ready for the great American feast of Thanksgiving. We all are anticipating turkey with all the trimmings, various types of dressings and stuffing, loads of sides and massive amounts of desserts. But what else are we gathering together for? Family and friends? Football? Maybe we are just waiting for the chance to be with people. For some this is the beginning of the hardest part of the year, when memories of those we have lost come flooding back. For some, this holiday opens the painful wound of a loved one who is not here for the family gathering. The elderly especially are prone to depression now and during Christmas. Those of us who plan our Thanksgiving to be the perfect dinner presentation, like we see on TV, need to remember to include the elderly in our celebrations, even though they may throw off the asthetics of the day. We need to remember, between the over eating and football games, the real reason for the day. To give thanks. To be grateful. To praise whatever God you believe in for the bounties of the last year. To be very mindful of what we have in this country, is never more appropriate than now, and the elderly members of the family can bring that home in a way no young person can. They have seen wars, depression, famine, strife and have come trough it all. They lived on rationed foods and commodities. They prayed openly and in every school across this land. They remember the national pride of being an American, and were willing to do without to bolster the countries efforts in two wars. They lived in a time that few people were wealthy enough to have phones, and no one had TV's. Air travel and the security pat downs were non existent. If they wanted to go to Grandma's house, they saved money for gas , if they had a car, or walked there. There was no football on TV so families had to actually talk to each other, play games with the kids and share what was going on in there lives. Dinners took all day to cook and everything was made from scratch from victory gardens that provided the vegetables for the meal. If they were lucky enough to have a Bird, it had to be killed, cleaned and gutted before going in the roaster. Everyone was in the kitchen , the women anyway. You couldn't make stuff the day before because ice came in a big block that had to be delivered by the ice man to go in the ice box to keep things cold. Our grandparents and parents know what it means to be thankful for the very things that kept them alive from one day to the next. This Thanksgiving, it is my hope we all take a step back and listen to what our elderly have to say about what they lived through. They have so much to teach us if we would just listen to their halting stories. Let them talk. Let them tell their stories in their own way. They still have so much to give us if we would take the time to hear and accept their precious gift. They may be gone next year, so take the time now while we still have them close.
Wishing you all and very blessed Thanksgiving surrounded with those you love and who love you