Tag Archive: turkey

The Gratitude Shine

I was thinking about writing on thankfulness today with the big holiday coming up.

Perhaps it is a desire to remind myself that – even when I mess up, blow deadlines and have a generally yucky feeling – life is pretty good. My family is healthy, I have a job as does my husband and while we do not have a lot of money we do have enough.

That idea was totally blown out of the water when I read “Gratitude, Shmatitude” at Snide Reply. How right she is that sometimes you have to deal with what is at the moment and gratitude has to wait some days.

The strange thing is that it reminded me of a life lesson found in a Star Trek movie. Spock’s human brother is a healer who takes away the emotional pain that the roughest situations give us. Dr. McCoy in particular has become a believer as he never got over the guilt of taking his father off of life support one week before a cure for McCoy’s father’s illness was discovered.

It is at this moment that Captain Kirk refuses, stating that the worst moments of our lives are what shapes and forms us. Would Dr. McCoy had become a less able doctor if his father’s experience had not propelled him? We need those times to push us and eat at us to make ourselves better.

I am going to think about that as my frozen rock of a turkey slowly thaws and perhaps be cook-able tomorrow. I will think about that as I put up Christmas lights on the warmest Thanksgiving in years. I will think about it all as I watch Miracle on 34th Street for the umpteenth time.

That is not going to stop me from feeling grateful for the good things because I learned long ago there are always going to be people trying to drag you down. Some people are happiest when they are dragging you down. Some people think cynicism is hip when it is really hiding from your own emotions. I have been one of those persons at different times in my life and I am not going back there. If that means I have to shine the light of gratitude to keep from sliding down the slope of despair, I am doing it.

But here is what I am not doing. I am not joining a gratitude group or keeping a gratitude journal. Some days, I will go to bed angrier than a red hen at something stupid the husband has done and forget to think of things that make me grateful. (Like no one else has ever done that.) Nor am I going to force you to state how you feel grateful for something or chide you when life puts you on the negative side of the fence. I have cousins whose mother died two years ago at this time and telling them to be grateful they had her as long as they did is a bit cruel and stupid.

What I am still going to do is be happy for what I do have because as far as I can tell, I have it pretty good. It has not always been easy but my life is easier than a lot of other people. And that makes me feel lucky and good.

If that is gratitude, well, so be it.


After the Feast…

Family Movie Night

Thanksgiving is done.

The turkey on the table was surrounded by the favorite side dishes. Stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes or sweet potatoes, deviled eggs and a relish tray. Then there were desserts.


Pumpkin pie, mince meat pie, apple pie, Key Lime Pie Cheesecake.

Ok, maybe it doesn’t happen that way at your house. Maybe the deviled eggs are replaced with something else. Stuffing is made with sage and onion instead of oysters and onion.

No matter, we gathered together to give thanks and dig in to a great feast. But now it is the day after and people with the day off are looking around. The kids might be looking for something to do .

Edmund Gween as Kris Kringle in "Miracle on 34th Street." Picture from IMDb.com

That is when you dip into the bag of classic movies. My favorite movie to watch is Miracle On 34th Street (1947). Yes, it is black and white. It was made during the post war era when the feeling of hope was palatable. Then there is Edmund Gwenn, who may have been the most perfect Santa ever. We meet him as he is walking down a street in Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day.

He is telling a shop keeper how to arrange the reindeer in proper order when he sees a drunken Santa on the Macy’s float. That is when Gwenn meets Maureen O’Hara and she asks him to be the Macy’s Santa. Maureen O’Hara represents the bitterness of the era who is secretly seeking hope without knowing if she will ever find it. Meanwhile, attractive bachelor corporate lawyer John Payne, the personification of optimism and populist idealism, is trying to attract the beautiful O’Hara.

You do not have to watch the movie for all of the deeper meanings. It is a lovely film that epitomizes the spirit of the Christmas season, reminding us to believe in faith alone and to be grateful for what we have in this world.  This is one movie that all members of the family can watch and enjoy together.

Home for the Holidays, picture from IMDb.com

Another movie that is better for adult-only viewing is Home For The Holidays starring Holly Hunter as an artistic restorer who is going home to Baltimore for Thanksgiving. She has just been fired, her daughter tells her this is the weekend she is staying with her boyfriend and her stylish coat has been lost at O’Hare Airport.

But wait it gets better. Her priggish sister insists on making a whole separate meal that is ‘healthier’ while looking down her nose at their gay brother. The gay brother brings along a friend who may be interested in Hunter.

Why I like this movie has to do with moments of hope and understanding as adult children learn to understand their parents, siblings and maybe themselves. While parents, siblings and kids might drive each other crazy, for most there is a reservoir of love that keeps you coming back.

Picture from IMDb.com

Last, but not least, is perhaps what I think may be one of the funniest and sweetest Thanksgiving movies ever made. I was visiting Emjayandthem’s blog when I saw the reminder of what a great movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles really is. It may not be appropriate for every member in the house, although I think kids 13 and up can watch this one.

John Candy and Steve Martin charm in this movie as two travelers who are trying to get home when getting home for Thanksgiving is just not working out. I love it from start to finish. Cabbie race scene, uncomfortable train ride, car burning, confrontation and realizing you are an ass – all of it is great movie making.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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