Holidays bring sweetness to some and sadness to others. The sadness may be personal as in my writing from last year or in the collective as in what Thanksgiving means for Native Americans. The focus of this writing is on the sweet.
I start with the sweet smell of flowers. I stopped at the neighborhood flower store today. The florist was watching the Mexico-vs-Poland football game of World Cup 2022 at Qatar on TV and asked if I followed soccer. I said yes and went on to say what an amazing striker Poland had in Lewandowski though he was aging. She said she was a fan of Mexico’s superstar goalkeeper Ochoa. It would turn out that just a few minutes later those exact two would come face to face with each other when Lewandowski would take a penalty for Poland which would be stopped by Ochoa! How often do two neighbors in a little town in America get connected by a faraway happening in the middle east that brings together a European and a Mexican face to face?
We live in a connected and interdependent world. Often, good comes tinged with not so good. Such is the case with the World Cup 2022 at Qatar where human rights are an issue. That is also the case with the COP27 global climate agreement signed recently in Egypt where reduction in coal and fossil fuel burning is not agreed. Not all is good. But there is progress.
I am reminded of a conversation with a delightful nephew. At a beach vacation with our extended family one summer, he and I were enjoying the ocean waves just talking about things that uncles and dear nephews talk about. In this interconnected world, he explained, every one of our actions likely contributes to something of which we disapprove! Ignore the unpleasant minutia and don’t focus on a few clouds in the blue sky for otherwise you can’t even enjoy a piece of pizza peacefully was his sweet advice, paraphrased.
When the blue sky is blue enough or when the dark clouds are too dark depends on our perspective. What is minutia for one person may be all that is important for another. We can celebrate Thanksgiving yet acknowledge that the occasion is not exactly joyous for Native Americans. A contribution to their college education is one way to show we care as we enjoy our dinner.
It is indeed possible to enjoy a delightful Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey. Used to be the case that a neighbor who knew we were vegetarians would ask, “Oh, wait, you don’t eat turkey, do you? So how do you celebrate Thanksgiving?” The short answer is that we eat everything but.
Violet and I have much to celebrate on Thanksgiving. This year brings more joy than usual: a graduation in the family. Congrats, grad! We are proud of you. More than that, we are delighted you persevered and achieved an ambitious goal you set for yourself. Floods, fire, and even a pandemic couldn’t stop you.
Enjoy Thanksgiving and remember the Native American Heritage Day!
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