Ode to Thanksgiving by Annette Hinton

Yellow leaves are falling like gentle rain outside my office windows.  They circle slowly in a stately dance that calls my attention away from the computer screen.  It is 78 degrees today, and I finally turned the air conditioner back on.  Where is fall?  Wasn’t it only a week ago that tiny goblins chased witches and ninja turtles across our yards asking for candy treats?  It was warm that evening too, so fanciful costumes were in full display not hidden under jackets and long pants.  Not too warm to lite a bonfire to chase away any thoughts of chill and sip mulled cider as we chatted with friends and oohed and ahhed over clever costume designs.  Was that Anthony in the Braves uniform? Sarah made an adorable ballerina, and watch out… a troop of tiny minions is passing through.

Truckloads of Halloween revelers later we said our goodnights and made our way home.  We lit some candles and snuggled under soft throws to enjoy a favorite show.  What was that zip across the television screen?  Did I see a sparkle as if it were thrown from a wand?  Relief, it is the last echo of Halloween; or is it? Oh  Nooo, I sighed.  It was what I was afraid it was-- the first Christmas commercial; and Halloween not even fully put to rest.  I can feel the ground stirring beneath my feet as if in protest.

Not too early the next morning I set off to run some errands.  Gone were the shelves of wrapped candy treats, costumes and masks.  Behold!  An entire section of the grocery store dedicated to ornaments and wrap, decorations and bows, lighted trees and candy canes.  Before the leaves are half off the trees greenery and red ribbons festoon many of the stately homes on Green Street.  Inside me is a nagging sadness.  I don’t miss Halloween.  It was a fun and fanciful evening filled with laughter and comradery.  I regret Thanksgiving.  It sits patiently, like a maiden aunt, at the end of a food aisle, waiting to be needed and noticed.  Not exactly forgotten, yet never the center of attention.

Black Friday sales begin before Veterans Day and more major retailers have joined the ranks of stores open on Thanksgiving Day.  I, for one, am very grateful that some of my favorite stores will remain closed to allow their employees to enjoy a day of thanks with their families.  It may be that they are using the treasured day off to shop or watch their favorite football games.  Those who know me are well aware that I am not a football fan, but I have a favorite Thanksgiving scene from one of my much watched movies, The Blind Side.  A teen from the projects is living with a wealthy Memphis family.  They grab their food, thank mom (Sandra Bullock) for picking it up at the store and settle down on the sofas for a day of football celebration.  The teen carries his plate to the dining room table and within moments the entire family follows suit; a poignant reminder of our many blessings.  No, football and turkey are not my go to Thanksgiving pastimes.  I skip the turkey and feast on the truth that God is my source, my instant, constant abundant supply.

Back in my office I watch the squirrels chase each other in a way that lets me know that new little ones will be digging patches in my lawn next spring.  Raindrops still linger on the branches outside my window, and the ground is a carpet of yellow, orange and red leaves.  I smile as I remember that Thanksgiving is not just a day or a season, but a lifetime made up of moments of joy and gratitude.  Green Street may have bypassed the season, but the landscape is resplendent with fall colors as Mother Nature begins to put her children into a deep sleep of replenishment and renewal.  I open my eyes wide to the life and beauty that surrounds me and am filled with gratitude for all that I have, all that I can share and the spirit of giving that fills my life with blessings too many to contain in a single day or even a single season.  Today, and every day, is Thanksgiving in my heart and I am thankful to all who make my life so rich.