Lessons from Thanksgiving

It was a time to give thanks — to be mindful, take stock in all that we have and show gratitude. That is the meaning of Thanksgiving. But along with it, the holiday brings a lot of other lessons for us to learn and ponder. Lessons not quite as significant, but just as important.

Like how dogs would sooner be thrown into a pool of hot lava than go out in the rain. And if you’re in a hurry – because it’s Thanksgiving morning and there’s a turkey in the oven – they’ll fight you even more.

My brother and his family traveled north this year to visit my sister-in-law’s family. We took care of his dog, who I affectionately refer to as “Meat Chunk.” It’s because she resembles a side of beef. She runs around the house with my dog crashing into things, dislodging structural support walls and crushing toes.

Because my dog and his are like dueling tornadoes, Meat Chunk was going back to her house Thanksgiving morning. The rainy morning. The morning when everything was flooded. The morning I had a 15-second window that didn’t include time for scrambling around the car trying to get her out and yelling, “Damn you, Meat Chunk, it’s just a little rain!”

That got a few stares on the street.

Or how Black Friday really begins Thursday night. And if you get the genius idea to purchase a TV online on Thanksgiving and then think you can just swing by the store to pick it up, you’re an ignoramus!

Because when you get to the store, there will be a line longer than the Great Wall of China wrapping around the building with lots of excited, liquored-up, cranky people waiting to get in. And suddenly your genius idea of skipping the hootenanny using modern technology will crumble. Why didn’t I have it delivered? Because I’m impatient. And worried it would get damaged in the truck. And drinking brandy on Thanksgiving makes everything seem like a good idea. And because who would have thought anyone would think standing in line in a dark parking lot was a great way to spend Thanksgiving when you could be home shopping online?!?

Or how when guests leave your house on Thanksgiving, you should load them up with all your leftovers so you don’t spend the next three days creating ever more ridiculous concoctions like empanadas topped with brie, Italian salami and a dollop of gravy. I now have an ulcer named Steve.

Or how you should never get your dad hooked on a Netflix series like “Stranger Things” because you and your family will inevitably spend two full days glued to the couch, never seeing sunlight, never talking and all needing spinal adjustments to take the sofa-shaped curve out of your backs.

But at least that one will be worth it if your daughter enjoys it, and your dad texts later it was one of his favorite visits. Bonus if it’s on a giant TV that you stood in line for on Thanksgiving night.

Also published on Medium.

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