Just wishing a Happy Thanksgiving, One and All!

I am, without a doubt, grateful for so much – things insignificant and things that have literally saved my life: caffeine fixes, modern medicine, gifts of midnight chocolate, tolerance and patience (for me and for the world), Family, jewelry, baths, Friends, laughing, crying, books, music, intelligence, kindness, hugs, Kitten Children, peas, CHEESE, Love, a body whole (despite creaks, wheezes and relative “pear” size), sleep, peace, children, the freedom to be rather a “heathen,” the freedom to criticize as well as laud and honour, sacrifice, forgiveness, toys, natural fibers, Autumn, arias to keep the bears away, abilities, memories, mountains, flowers, water, sky, fragrance, poetry of word and motion, the human voice in word and song, beautiful souls, rescue, opal silver metallic blue, meadows, candles, sustenance, honesty, movies, plays, Apple Computers, reclamation, passion, layers, respite, languages, instruments, ideas, end-of-life care, teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy little things, generosity, stars, huzzahs, making it to Scipio, Canadian-ness, big chunky shoes, sweet surprises – be it a piano, a chocolate bar, the Perfect Valentine, well-wishes sent to my hidey hole, the dream of Scotland, the dream of a house, diet Coke – all kinds of surprises, and a Home to which I was generously welcomed.

I hope it is apparent that I was desperately avoiding hierarchical classifications. I didn’t want it to be like a harried Oscar speech in which I tried too hard to be thorough and forgot to mention my spouse (no offense, Hilary).

Oh – there is a little rant I mentioned in my gift idea. Unless you find it particularly amusing that there was (and perhaps is) a town named “Scrooby,” you might choose to ignore it. I don’t mind either way.

WARNING – THIS IS THE RANT OR RAMBLE (depending on your point of view) *Okay, so the Pilgrims were Separatists in England who sought to escape religious persecution. They gathered in the Northern English town of Scrooby (big mistake – NOTHING good can happen in a town with a name like “Scrooby”) in 1606. They fled to Holland after increased discrimination. But, as they were farmers at heart, city life did not appeal to them, and they feared for the moral upbringing of their children faced with “big city temptations.” And perhaps they all were opposed to wooden shoes (we all know Stacy and Clinton would have HATED them). So they sailed on the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620. Afterwards friendly Native Americans helped them survive their first two harsh winters. Quid Pro Quo, they subsequently invited their new friends to the FIRST THANKSGIVING!!!

These days in America (and in wacky Canada a month earlier, and originally it had to do with the Prince of Wales – later King Edward VII – recovering from a nasty illness and then it got all smushed together with “remembrance” day and “Armistice” day – for a long time now Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October, and you can even read various proclamations from year to year about the OFFICIAL thing for which Canada was thankful that year), Thanksgiving is considered an opportunity for family and friends to be grateful for each other and for the things with which they are blessed. Of course, Native Americans (especially those with ancestry from New England’s original population) sometimes feel a TAD bit differently and though I don’t suppose they mind the idea of gratefulness in general or a good old-fashioned “Yippee” for a bountiful harvest, the Pilgrims ended up as the dark-clothed harbingers of bigotry, marginalization, generations of forced dispossession of their homeland, and the death of so many.

However, while this Country’s history, by no means wholly honorable and at many times in the past (and the present and in days still to come) full of human shortcomings – some trifling, some wholly unforgivable – we live in a fortunate time. We can be, indeed, thankful that history can be acknowledged and studied and, with any luck, the future can omit repetitions of wretched sins of the past. Or, at least we can be thankful that we can HOPE for such a thing:

In the words of George Santayana (1863 – 1952):

The truth is cruel, but it can be loved, and it makes free those who have loved it.

And, naturally:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.