I wrote this piece yesterday in writing group. Our prompt was the words “thank you” written on a sheet of paper, a mini pumpkin, a fabric turkey, and an ear of Indian corn:
So we have some family traditions that for me are inviolable, but for the rest of my family are strictly take-them-or-leave-them. Going around the Thanksgiving table before we eat and saying what we are grateful for is one of those. I just can’t seem to let go of it. Mom started it, and I guess I’m a bit afraid that once you let go of one little tradition, then the whole works will come unraveling.
Take the Macy’s Day Parade for instance. There was a time when we all clumped together in the family room to exclaim over the floats, but now, more often than not, the TV drones on in the next room without an audience. For me though, it would be pure heresy not to at least be aware that a gargantuan Snoopy is gracing the rain-soaked skies of NYC on a raw, grey East Coast Thanksgiving Day, and that the Rockettes are still doing their high kicks, as scantily clad as ever. So the TV stays on.
But what of the tradition of saying what we’re grateful for? Is it destined to go by the wayside? I just can’t decide if I’m going to force the issue this year. Let’s face it, there’s only so many times you can hear people mumble “I’m grateful for family and friends”. Thus it was with delight that I stumbled on one of those quirky little reposts on Facebook.
From now until Thanksgiving, the post said, think of one thing that you are thankful for and post it as your status. As it gets closer to Thanksgiving, the post went on to warn, the task will become harder. I was stunned. What? We’re talking in the ballpark of twenty posts here. Whoever started this thinks people can’t come up with twenty things that they’re thankful for? Yikes!
I of course just had to take the challenge. And I took it one step further. I decided to write a gratitude poem every day in haiku and post to FB and my blog until Thanksgiving. And who knows, I may even take it beyond. Twenty things to be thankful for only? That’s barely scratching the surface.
For starters: I’m thankful for family, relatives, friends, casual acquaintances, fellow writers, editors, cyberfriends, and just plain old people in general, both of my writing groups, living in Portland, the rain that keeps things green, the abundance of electricity that heats my home and provides light even in the darkest months. I’m thankful that I live in a land of opportunity, for my personal freedoms, that my family is weathering the current economic crisis, that we have our relative health, and that we have health insurance. I’m thankful for the roof over my head, for having had the unconditional love and support of my parents for so many years. I’m thankful for Facebook and Twitter, and Google Chat and Gmail, and the web in general, that allows me to stay so connected with family and friends from all over the world. I’m grateful for books, and for Amazon and Powell’s and a free public library system and for the time to read books. I’m grateful that my cancer is currently in remission. I’m grateful for my cats, our cars, the gym I belong to, and my yoga and Tai Chi teachers…well, I could go on and on. You get the idea!