Take the day off. And we mean not just from work, though most people will not be having the time cards punched literally or figuratively today. Rather, let’s hope this is a day off from the hubub of the election season just passed. Hang a sign over the feasting table that says, “A politics free zone.”
Because everyone is just worn out. So today, we hope the aunts and uncles and cousins on opposite sides, politically speaking, won’t get going again about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and conspiracy theories and Wall Street and gloom and doom and just give it all a rest. Hold hands during the prayer or moments of silence, respect each other’s beliefs and just carry on. Think about the turkey. Or the green bean casserole. Or the ham. Or the pies. Yes, that’s it. The pies.
And for a time, leave the rest of it alone.
That’s not to say that Thanksgiving should relieve us of time spent expressing concern for our less-fortunate neighbors on the planet. Let us ponder the plight of the homeless, the poor, the sick — the many people for whom this day is a melancholy mix of happiness that the holiday season has begun and sadness that they or those whom they love are having troubles.
But isn’t Thanksgiving, after all, not just a time of hearty meals and laughter and football and the rest of it, but a time of reflection on one’s blessings and the need to share those blessings with the less fortunate?
Down in Eastern North Carolina, a region in which some folks are still a long way from bouncing back from the damage of Hurricane Matthew, we hope that Thanksgiving finds families displaced by that awful storm gathered with families who have opened their homes and hearts to them. And we hope that next year, those who have suffered the most will be at their own tables giving thanks that they have returned their lives to normal, or as close as they can get to it.
We hope those other men and women and children who find themselves on this holiday burdened by worries and perhaps by homelessness will today find themselves eating well and getting together in a friendly and warm place. Escaping from their troubles, if just for a bit.
We especially send out hope to those in service to our country in the far reaches of the world a peaceful holiday, and some cooking that’s as close to homestyle as those military cooks can muster. May they also get to put a call in to the family back home.
Area hospitals will have nurses and doctors on duty today, giving service to patients they realize may be particularly frustrated with being sick and away from home as the holiday season begins. Is there any stronger smile than that of a nurse trying to help someone who’s ill through a particularly bad day? Good Thanksgiving to you, all care-givers, when you get a chance to celebrate.
There with in our book of thanks are the people taking time out to serve Thanksgiving in soup kitchens. They wouldn’t have it any other way, of course. Good day to you, and to the Pilgrims you serve. Carry on.
And finally, let’s hope this holiday somehow brings together a country torn apart by the election just passed. The decision has been made. The people have spoken, like their choice or not. But on this day, remembering those beginnings of Plymouth, we should be able to find common hopes and dreams to bring us together, something we hope our next Washington leaders will find as well.