Celebrate Giving Thanks

Yellow FeatherWow! Not only is it Hump Day, it is also Thanksgiving Week. It is kind of a kick off to the Holy Days. You know, for me a “holy day” is a day one sets aside for a specific purpose, usually spiritual, where a certain amount of time or days are separated to remember this specific purpose or value. Kind of a separation from the norm of behaviour. So, Thanksgiving raises a lot of issues as the interpretations vary. I have transformed the topic into Celebrate Giving Thanks!

How often do we just give thanks for something or someone? Now, that’s not to say we never do, but it is usually not a common theme being discussed amongst people unless at church. I used to laugh at the “dysfunctional family” jokes, especially around the “holidays”. Now, I know more what was meant. I was always a loner, even with a brother and two sisters, I did stuff by myself. I never asked why, I just did stuff: traveled, taught in other countries and visited still others by myself. I always made friends, I guess it’s just the kind of person I am. So I know I contributed to any dysfunctionality that my family may have! Just sayin’!

The first so called Thanksgiving is said to have one particular origin that I want to mention. It involves the local Pilgrims there at Plymouth Colony where folks were starving and going mad, it is said. They started to celebrate a harvest that yielded some food, since some had resorted to cannibalism amongst the settlers …. again it is said. So, they started shooting their guns in celebration of a meager first harvest. The nearby Wampanoag Indians overheard the ruckus and got a posse together to investigate. They found the colonists celebrating and hung around to make sure that was all it was. They had been around “settlers” before and had learned from experience. So, the colony’s first governor, John Carver, and, Yellow Feather Massasoit may have communicated as leaders to confirm that no battle was going to be fought. So, it wasn’t really a feast though gathering of edible vegetables, fruits and wild animals were shared at some point in the future, again, so it is said.

(Note: This is just one “history” I wanted to share. It is believed that the theme of Thanksgiving was embraced by this nation to quell internal disputes between racial groups amongst the colonies, later states. The African American “version” of this celebration is called “Umoja Karamu” and means unity feast. This is a relatively new celebration!)

So, whatever you decide to do, families and friends and food included, have a fine time. Just don’t forget the theme of being grateful and feeling moved enough to give thanks and to celebrate it. I mean, we all have tough times and know someone who has been challenged with health or family issues, legal challenges and financial crises. So let’s leave all the potential drama aside and come together, at least as families and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!


John I. Cook, Director

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