“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”-Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance
It is easy to be depressed on Thanksgiving, 2022…or lately any Thanksgiving this decade. Then I think about my Native American brethren and realize that it has been a rough two and a half centuries for them. I don’t know who thought celebrating Native American Heritage Month in the same month as the Native American National Day of Mourning, aka Thanksgiving, was a great idea. Regardless, President Bush signed it into law in 1990.
While I identify with my Native American blood brothers, there are reasons to celebrate and be thankful.
I’m thankful that a (cisgender) veteran attended Club Q in Colorado Springs. They were celebrating Transgender Remembrance Day, a day to remember those lost to violence against or suicide. With the help of a Drag Queen in high heels, they were able to limit the death and destruction that claimed five lives, taking down a shooter armed with a “long gun” and pistol. I am also thankful for the darkly humorous image of a Drag Queen dressed in his/her finery dancing on the murderer’s head in stiletto heels. Too soon? There is a reason they are called “stiletto” heels.
I’m also thankful that the veteran and his family were at a Queer venue celebrating people who have, for a too long, been considered the others by others who don’t believe people outside of the “box” deserve such basic rights as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I’m sorry they lost their daughter’s boyfriend to the carnage. I’m also sorry that the best we can offer to the families and friends of those lost in the previous seven hundred or so mass shootings this year is thoughts and prayers.
I would like to be thankful for the absence of hatred in the world but instead will celebrate an Iranian men’s soccer team who stood in mute solidarity protesting the treatment of Iranian women at home as their national anthem played at the World Cup and the English team who knelt during theirs supporting social justice for all. The American team did nothing but tie with Wales. Sorry American right-wingers, nothing for you to ridicule and celebrate against. I’m thankful for that too.
These are going to sound like a litany of “hurray for me and the hell with everyone else” and they might be.
I’m thankful that despite inflation numbers and high gas and food prices, I’m doing okay. I have money in the bank and a retirement. I’m thankful inflation will correct itself, eventually. I am thankful that despite gas prices, I will make the road trip to my family’s gathering instead of being sequestered during a pandemic. I’m also unhappy that because of the road trip I will not have the opportunity to sample any brown liquor.
I’m thankful I haven’t lost any family members or friends recently to the pandemic and pray that the building “triple threat” burns itself out quickly.
I’m thankful that I recently came through my yearly bank of physicals and am in “fine fiddle “although with Afib, the fiddle might be a bit out of tune. There are many my age who are not as healthy. I’m thankful I look so much younger than those my age. LOL.
I’m thankful I am sitting in an airish old farmhouse with heat and electricity and a running refrigerator with food in it. I could gripe about the price of electricity, but I could also be sitting in a cold and dark Ukrainian flat as missiles and artillery shells rain down.
I’m thankful I’m not on a dusty South American road trekking to gain asylum in a country that doesn’t seem to want me despite the quote on the Statue of Liberty,
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
― Emma Lazarus
I’m thankful for a family to visit over Thanksgiving and celebrate memories of family members no longer with us. So many folks had less than the childhood I lived. I was truly blessed.
I’m thankful for and proud of my immediate family.
My rock Linda Gail, I can’t contemplate a world without you. The fact we found each other makes me believe there actually is a God.
Ashley and Justin. I am proud of the people you are and the parents you are. I still think you’ve too many irons in the fire. You are wonderful, rocks in your own right.
Kate and Nolan, you are both heart breakers. I’m so proud of your confidence and fearlessness…some of your fearlessness causes my heart to stop but if you survive, it will serve you well.
Steve and Rebecca, I’m proud to call you brother and sister-in-law. I live much of my life vicariously through you…so you went to Folly Beach, did you? I just committed the sin of envy.
Joyce, I’m thankful you treated me much like the son you never had, and for keeping me tied to home, and with it, my mother, and my grandmother.
Kim, Lynn, and Terri, thanks for being the sisters I never had and like your mother, tying me to my home that once existed along a dusty dirt road.
Bob, thanks for being Lynn’s rock, I know it is a challenge.
Lawrence and Stephanie, I’m thankful you have the family you always wanted and am proud to call you kin.
Hawk, I consider you family. Thanks for being there buddy, and thanks for your perspective on the world and God…I don’t necessarily agree but perspectives are like M&M’s, assorted colors, and flavors.
Lynn C, thanks for letting me bounce ideas off your head and your support. Glad we reconnected after such a long time.
I am quite blessed it seems…and I almost forgot. Quigley and Cora, thanks for your unconditional love and the puppy kisses I receive despite knowing where your tongues have been.
To all my friends, known and unknown, especially those of you who take time to read these, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. To my family, Happy Thanksgiving.
This was written before the murder of six people at a Walmart in Virginia and the suicide of their murderer. Seven-gun deaths means it is jusanother day in America and I refuse to send empty thoughts and prayers.
Don Miller’s most recent releases is the historical fiction “Thunder Along the Copperhead” and the nonfiction “Pig Trails and Rabbit Holes.” Both may be purchased in paperback or downloaded on Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR0LGf5HUb84nQnPB-sFQF7KaqSOW6sGsSSu1_ltf1FuWh1Wj2nSIad1uYQ