Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Transitions

O how well I remember those Thanksgivings of my childhood when we would spend a lazy morning around our house watching the Macy's Parade and smelling the good food cooking that my mother was preparing in the kitchen and that we would not enjoy until early afternoon.  Those seem like the "good ole days" now that I am older and my family of origin has slowly disappeared over the years.  First, it was my sister who died a decade ago.  Then, my father died four years later.  Then, my brother and sister in law died only last year.  Now, I have an elderly mother and myself as the only ones of our family of origin remaining.  So, Thanksgiving now consists of going to Luby's Cafeteria on Thanksgiving Day along with my wife and our grown nephew whose parents left him with few usable practical skills so he is fairly dependent on others.

Going to Luby's on Thanksgiving Day is not bad but it is not Thanksgiving as we knew it in the past.  My wife and I are officially middle aged, both of us having elderly mothers who are widows and grown children who live in other states so far removed that they never come home for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Day has lost its cultural identity for me.  It is no longer a gathering in a home with lots of food weighing down the table to the point that one cannot squeeze another dish on it---a literal representation of a feast.  Now, it is waiting in a line along with others who will not eat at their homes either on this special day and then eating the plate lunch that Luby's sells as their own version of the Thanksgiving Feast.  A piece of pumpkin pie accompanies the package deal if you want it but another dessert will cost you extra.

Luby's is a fine place to have a meal if you enjoy cafeterias and I grew up going to Luby's on a fairly regular basis with my family so I have nothing against eating there but if I had my choice of spending Thanksgiving Day at my home or another home with friends and family rather than going to Luby's, I would certainly chose that more nostalgic representation of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be like.

Many of our friends have grandchildren and that is an immediate lure for people to get together at holidays.  Having none, then that magnet does not draw us anywhere for the holidays.  Our children have their own busy lives and although they knew they have a standing invitation to come home anytime they wish we are not insistent about pushing our holiday agenda hoping it will be their idea to come home for the holidays rather than be urged by their parents to do so.

So, Thanksgiving is what it is.  I have learned in all things to be content, so said the Apostle Paul, and if he was around today and celebrating this American holiday along with us, you may find him standing in line at Luby's too since we have no record that he had a family of any kind.  Perhaps he would have ordered the Thanksgiving Feast with the accompanying pumpkin pie or he may have just had a big bowl of gumbo instead because it is the holiday that brings us together and whoever is around our table is more important than the food, regardless of what it is, that is on that table.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  Enjoy!

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