24 November 2022 ~
It’s Thanksgiving, one of my favorite times of the year! It is the season for dinner, shopping, football, and Sangria. It is a time for holiday traditions and family gatherings. It is the time for giving thanks for so many good things in life… and there is always something to be grateful for. Thanksgiving is the kick-off to the holiday season, and it is the first day I hit play on my “Holiday Tunes” list.
Thanksgiving morning begins with the Macy’s Parade and the National Dog Show. Congrats to Winston, the French bulldog… this year’s winner! I have a large family. Generally, we congregate at my brother’s home because he has the space to fit us all in. Although… there was that one year, I insisted on hosting the dinner at my small condo. I set up folding tables and chairs in my kitchen and invited them all over. We were elbow to elbow, but it was fun.
I’m grateful that everyone in my family can cook… well. We each have a specialty, and my niece’s specialty is making Sangria. Combine Sam’s Sangria, plenty of food, and great family time – and it is the recipe for how family urban legends are passed down… like the time my dad and uncle Joe tossed dinner rolls from one end of the dinner table to the other, or the Thanksgiving Day baseball game that lasted several hours with no score on either side.
All that food (and Sangria) consumption is followed by marathon shopping, the day after Thanksgiving, also known as “Black Friday.” Black Friday kicks off the Christmas shopping season. People line up at stores all across the country waiting to take advantage of deep discounts and savings and to shop until they drop. As we learned, not even the ninth month of pregnancy will stop participation on “Black Friday.” Before her rise to Supreme Sangria maker, Sam, her sister, and her mom (my sister-in-law) were shopping at a Walmart, when Sam went into labor. My great-nephew was born on Black Friday.
There is one more tradition that is sacred to my family, that only comes once a year (thank goodness!) and that is the Iron Bowl – the no holds barred, fight until death, football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers. I don’t know, but I’m sure everyone in my family learned to say “Roll Tide” before we learned to say anything else – or maybe that is another urban legend.
Regardless of what happens in any other part of the season, for an Alabama fan, it all comes down to this game. It is okay to lose the National Championship, but it is never okay to lose to Auburn. The Alabama – Auburn rivalry started back in 1893. On the importance of the rivalry, the great Alabama Head Coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant said it best… “Sure I’d like to beat Notre Dame, don’t get me wrong. But nothing matters more than beating that cow college on the other side of the state.”
Dinner, shopping, football, and sangria are four things I’m grateful for… but I’m also grateful for the family I have to share them with and the memories I have of the family members who are no longer with us and who played a role in building the legacies that I carry with me on this Thanksgiving in 2022.
Yet, I realize that I am one of many in the world who have much to be thankful for… I also realize that there are many more who struggle. The last Thursday in November is the day we celebrate the blessings of the past year. Although Thanksgiving is a holiday recognized in the US and Canada, it is not difficult to apply the idea of being grateful to people in other countries. Truly the US and Canada do not corner the market on being thankful and grateful for a blessed year.
The world has had a tough time these past three years. There has been enormous struggle and loss. There are dinner tables this Thanksgiving that are missing family members. There are conflicts in other parts of the world in which people continue to struggle and are hanging on by a thread – struggling even to find something to be grateful for.
Pay It Forward
So, I ask you… if you have had a great year, filled with blessings, will you please share a message of hope for someone else in the world who is struggling, in the comments below? It costs nothing but a few heartfelt words… and it will make all the difference in the world to someone else. #HappyThanksgiving and #RollTide! #ThinkingOutLoud #Gratitude #SamsSangria #IronBowl
With gratitude… Lara
Photo: Lara’s family as they were in 2010. Photo taken by Jeff Robbins (my brother)