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Thanksgiving 2010

16 November 2010


Today’s #LetsBlogOff topic is “Thanksgiving’s coming, so what’s it to you?” These are the thoughts that came to mind.

Thanksgiving 1


“Giving Thanks”


Thanksgiving 4 I think how people feel about Thanksgiving has a lot to do with where they’re coming from. I grew up poor, and my father grew up extremely poor, so for us it has always been a day for just that, giving thanks. Bad as our childhood was at times (no drinking or drugs or neglect-just two overworked, underpaid parents with too many children to raise), we always had a meal, although there were times when the pickings were very slim indeed. But somehow, we always managed to get up enough for a nice turkey dinner at Thanksgiving.

My father was always both proud and grateful at those gatherings. He often asked, “Has anyone here ever been hungry? Not just before a meal, but really hungry because you haven’t eaten for three days? Well, I have. So, we have a lot to be thankful for today.”

Thanksgiving 8 Sometimes he led us in prayer; other times he would say something like, “We all know what we have to be thankful for today, so let’s just bow our heads and think about that for a few moments.” And after a minute or so, he would say, “Amen,” and the meal would begin.

The other nice thing about celebrating Thanksgiving while he was alive was that football games rarely played a factor. Oh, sometimes someone would wander off and watch a quarter or so, but mostly it was a day for family and visiting, especially after his children were adults. We would eat the main meal at 2:00, clean up the kitchen and dishes, and sit around the table laughing and talking until 7:00 or so. Then we’d make our way into the kitchen for a sandwich, sometimes with homemade bread! A slice of the pumpkin pie we’d passed on earlier completed the “light meal” if you can call it light on top of what we’d already consumed. But it wasn’t the food that had brought us together; it was family and sharing and thankfulness for what we had.

Thanksgiving 6 One of the more intriguing statements I’ve encountered came from a person who stated that all of the formal prayers of Jews are prayers not of supplication, but of thanksgiving. He went on to say that we can spend so much time lamenting what we do not have that we can forget to be grateful for what we do have. I can honestly say that my wife and I have always felt that way about the marriage we have made. There have been bouts with unemployment and other disappointments, but even in the worst moments, one of us is sure to look at the other and say, “You know what? I’m just grateful for what we have.” In that context, then, Thanksgiving is very important to me because it is a chance to give a more formal thanks for the many blessings in my life.

Whether it’s the turkey we will consume with our family, or the tofu my vegan business partner will consume with his family, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for bringing family together for a much-too-elaborate meal that is very much a labor of love. My parents have passed on now, so we normally spend the day with my wife’s family, but I have several times prepared the meal for our own Thanksgiving here in San Diego. It’s a lot of work and a lot of joy, because it’s the kind of thing I would only do for people I care about. But the best part of the meal is when we take a moment to reflect on our many blessings, because that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, giving thanks.


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    12 Responses to “Thanksgiving 2010”

  1. Let’s Blog Off: Reducing Stress for Thanksgiving | The HTRC: Homeowner's & Trades Resource Center  Says:

    […] Ginny Powell’s – In the Loop Jane Frederick’s – Lowcountry Architect Joseph Freenor’s – CFT 411 Madame Sunday’s – Modern Sauce Nick Lovelady’s – Cupboards Kitchen & Bath Paul […]

  2. Amy Good  Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post and just the memories that seep into my mind of my life and time with family. My family didn’t have much either. In some ways, I think we appreciated everything so much more.

  3. cindy frewen wuellner  Says:

    Joseph: welcome to letsblogoff! what gorgeous images of thanksgiving. I was looking at some pictures of hungry children in America, it’s heartbreaking. My dad was a teacher/principal, we were no Rockefellers, they always made thanksgiving look like we were rich. Am sure you also give thanks for living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. happy thanksgiving, cindy @urbanverse

  4. Joe Freenor  Says:

    Cindy, I do give thanks for living in San Diego. My wife and I moved here in 1982, and we still think it is America’s Finest City. Also, every good thing in our life came to us here. She has made a wonderful career in Human Resources; I found my legs as a woodworker and am blessed to have friends like my partner on this site, Joe Dusel. And also the many people I’ve found online since the start of this year. There are a lot of very decent, very generous people out there. From the outside looking in, you would think that woodworkers and interior designers would be at each others’ throat, trying to get every bit of business for themselves. Not so! Most of them will do anything they can to help others. Kinda of makes you wonder what the world would be like if we all cooperated like that…

  5. Joe Dusel  Says:

    Nice post there Joseph. Growing up as a kid in Pennsylvania Thanksgiving was always a big event for our family. It was one of the few meals each year that my dad would prepare – mostly because my mom was an awful cook, and he wanted it to be good.

    With my own kids we have a “traditional” vegetarian Thanksgiving. The kids and I get to make the meal with the tofu loaf with miso gravy replacing a turkey. And my wife usually takes it easy for this meal. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!


  6. Bob Borson  Says:


    Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading your post, particularly the part you shared about your father and your time as a child. The picture your story put into my head is what I think everyone hopes their Thanksgiving will be –


  7. DogWalkBlog  Says:

    I grew up in the same kind of family of two overworked, underpaid parents with too many kids to feed. There may have been times throughout the year when we went a bit hungry but never on Thanksgiving. No matter what, I remember always having a turkey, though I suspect some years it was a donated one. It must have been hard for them as they were proud. Us kids are grown and scattered to the winds, but when we get together, we still have those late night story-telling session as well.

    Welcome to the #letsblogoff and thanks for sharing.

  8. Joe Freenor  Says:

    It’s funny how it works out. By the time my wife came into my life, all of the kids were gone, and it was just my dad and mother. Christine never saw the Old Man without a beer in his hand. And I never went to his house without taking a six-pack. But when we were growing up, with my parents struggling the way they did, the Old Man left that stuff alone, because he knew that having a drink meant that much less for his children. I only saw him drink beer twice. Once was in a bowling alley, and I think his buddies bought him a round. The other time was after he’d worked all Saturday for the third or fourth Saturday in a row putting redwood siding on our Helena, Montana house. At the end of the day he said, “By God, I believe I will have a beer.” And he did. One! I remember how weird it looked to see him drink a beer in those days. But once he’d discharged his responsibilities, and I was of age… well, as I said, I never went to his house without taking him some beer. I never said anything, but it was just an unspoken thank you for all the times he’d wanted a beer and wouldn’t drink one because of his responsibilities.

  9. Denese Bottrell  Says:


    You’ve captured the true essence of Thanksgiving here. I absolutely adore your Dad’s simple prayer: “We all know what we have to be thankful for today, so let’s just bow our heads and think about that for a few moments.” I think I’m going to use that one this year.

    You’ve also captured the power of contentment. Grounding yourself in gratitude for what you have is the essential foundation from which all good things grow.

  10. Ginny Powell  Says:

    What a beautiful gift you brought to letsblogoff! You are exactly right – the people we love are what is important! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Saxon Henry  Says:

    Thanks for being so beautifully honest about your story and for sharing it so eloquently. My mom and dad grew up in the backwaters of Tennessee and their parents were still hunting for food rather than buying it at a grocery store. It has always struck me what a strange existence that seems to me even from two generations out from the man-versus-nature fold. You’ve made me think about this with your post and I’m grateful for that. Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to #LetsBlogOff!

  12. Let’s Blog Off: Reducing Stress for Thanksgiving  Says:

    […] Denese Bottrell’s – Thoughtful Content Ginny Powell’s – In the Loop Joseph Freenor’s – CFT 411 Nick Lovelady’s – Cupboards Kitchen & Bath Paul Anater’s – Kitchen and Residential […]

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