Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day 2013


Happy Thanksgiving Day to anyone who stops by to read what I've written today.

For those readers outside the USA, Thanksgiving Day is an American holiday commemorating a meal given by the Pilgrims publicly giving Thanks to God for finding their way to North America, founding their colony and being able to have a bountiful harvest when it looked like their might be no food for the Winter.

Traditionally, it's a time for people to return home, or gather with friends, and celebrate.

This year several of my Facebook friends have taken the challenge to post something they are thankful for each day this month until we reach today. For the two who have faithfully posted ever day I applaud you!

Since I did not take the challenge, this blog entry will have to suffice in some way.

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I have to be thankful for is not being caught up in the traffic snarl, which puts a Bay Area's weekday commute to shame. No matter whether it's a trip to the Central Valley, or clear across the country, it seems like you hear about crazy transportation issues.

This year people dodged the weather bullet because the great snow storm, which covered most of the US, was fairly predictable, and so travelers could choose to leave earlier to ensure getting to the dinner table on time.

How people do this year after year, amazes me; especially when many of them return home less than a week later, only to do it all over again less than a month later for Christmas and New Years Day.

Generally, the farthest my family has ever had to travel was across town, so San Pablo Ave was the biggest challenge.

I'm thankful for warmth. Some of you may be confused by that since it was in the mid-40s this morning. Considering it is likely to be the coldest Thanksgiving Day on record in Washington DC, that low of 46F here in Albany is downright balmy, and is 16F higher than what's predicted as the high in many cities along the East Coast, let alone Alamosa, CO where people woke up to 1F.

Going hand in hand with that, I'm thankful that I can chose to have as few, or as many, blankets on my bed inside a house, as opposed to those who live on the streets, either by choice or circumstances beyond their control, and don't have a single blanket to huddle up with.

I'm thankful for being able to walk to a local super market and select and buy from a veritable cornucopia of food any day of the week, let alone Thanksgiving Day. In other parts of the globe having a meal larger than a cup of rice is a luxury. Sometimes even that single cup seems like a luxury to them.

I'm thankful that I have the willpower not to already be in line at Best Buy or Fry's so I can save on a laptop or big screen television.

Please don't take that as a slight against anybody who is (there were several tents set up at Emeryville's Best Buy as of yesterday). I just find it shocking that people will basically put their lives on hold for some items.

A few years ago, I drove out to Concord Fry's to stand in one of those lines. At 2am it snaked throughout the parking lot, though it hadn't yet wrapped around the building quite yet. Once the doors opened at 5am, it was an orderly rush inside to grab things off the shelf and escape moderately unharmed.

With my cart full, I went in search for the end of the line. This line put the lines at Disneyland to shame. Three hours later I finally got to the checkout register. That's three hours in line, not three hours from when I got there!

The advantage of the time wait was that people, tired of waiting in the long line, abandoned sale items along the way, much like the Pioneers of the American West abandoned household items because they had to lighten their wagons. Items I had given up hope getting, magically appeared before my eyes.

I'm thankful I don't have a job that's requiring me to work on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and especially on Thanksgiving Day.

I'm not going to villainize companies for being open on Thanksgiving, though I wish all but the most necessary occupations had the day off.

When I was young, not nearly as many places were open on this special day, and those that were, were staffed by workers who volunteered to work that day; and they were usually highly rewarded for that volunteerism.

Sad as it is to say, I'm pretty certain many of the larger companies aren't giving their staff the option of staying home with their families, and the only reason they're paying holiday pay is because they're required to by the federal government.

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I could go on. But, this is getting long, and I've got stuff to prep for dinner; which I hope to have cooked before the Oakland Raiders take on the Dallas Cowboys for that other annual tradition…Turkey Day football!

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