Giving thanks …
Sometimes holidays sneak up as not so much unbidden, but as a surprise that hits one square on with a flood of emotions. It’s that “oh sh*t” moment when the understanding that nothing has been prepped, decisions on what to do haven’t been taken nor the landmines of things like what to do about Aunt Sissy’s nasty yorkie.
Thanksgiving falls into that category. A big family extravaganza with civic rituals that span back to George Washington’s time layered on with all the “blah, blah, blah” about Pilgrims and the Patuxets … or as my fourth grade teacher Mr. Samuels taught us, the Indians.
We have Abraham Lincoln to thank for a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” He proclaimed this day in 1863 with the Civil War raging–a not unhopeful event given the circumstance–and the final Thursday in November as the annual date. In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt who was faced with five Thursdays in November set the date to the fourth Thursday in November hoping to given merchants an extra week to hawk their wares for Christmas.
What it all boils down to–bended history, rank commercialism and the boogie-monster of “family” aside–is the chance to truly take a moment collectively as a nation, as a community, as a family and individually to tease out the good and the bad, the things that are truly praiseworthy along with the not-so-goods that need to be jettisoned.
For those New Yorkers still battered by Superstorm Sandy having come through the storm at all is primetime for taking a Thanksgiving moment or two knowing full well that there are families who were shattered by unfathomable loss. A late season hurricane does seem like an obscene joke especially one that is followed by a snow storm less than a week later.
Still we are good at picking up the pieces and if nothing else the tragedy has created a sense of everyday-as-Thanksgiving as scores of volunteers literally from around the nation as well as around the block have come to the hardest hit areas to work.
This is a long way of saying that the greatest gift of giving thanks likely comes down to helping others and whether through physical labor or a timely monetary donation to fund such endeavors we are truly a community–one that pitches in when we need to even after the bright lights of the media have moved along to other events.
So whether it’s “ugh” time when Uncle Louis prattles on about football or a joyous moment when the newest cousin in the family waddles over to Grandma take a moment to smell the orange cranberry relish and feel free to join me in feeling really, really lucky.
A special thanks to Girlboxing readers too for hanging in lately, it is truly appreciated and know that you have all my best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
Orange Cranberry Relish
(1) 12 oz. package fresh cranberries
(1) cup sugar
(1) navel orange
Grated orange peel from one orange
(2) – (3) cups orange juice
Rinse and pick over the cranberries.
Place in a heavy 2 – 3 quart saucepan, and cover with orange juice under medium flame.
Add in sugar and grated orange peel.
Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. (You should be attentive at the stove as the cranberries will start to pop.)
Reduce flame and simmer for about 40 minutes or until mixture reduces and thickens, stir occasionally throughout.
Place in a festive bowl and allow to set and cool (about an hour or so).
Cover tightly with plastic wrap before refrigerating. Will keep for three – four days.