Giving thanks for Thanksgiving, a special time of year
By Stephan Drew
Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and my taste buds couldn’t possibly be more excited! The turkey is thawing, ready for me to butter it, season it and pop it in the oven first thing in the morning. The homemade cornbread is cooked and ready to crumble to make Mom’s famous dressing. Yes, my mother makes it from scratch. Right after breakfast, she will boil the eggs, slice the onions and start cooking the giblets for gravy. The Thanksgiving meal is a big production around our house and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a holiday where the only pressure is whether the food will come out right or not. There are no presents, no last-minute shopping rush – we always plan and shop ahead of time – and, oftentimes, no sudden surprises. I’m usually in charge of the turkey. After I butter and season it, I place it breastdown so that the white meat won’t be so dry. Some people say it doesn’t make much difference but those who have eaten at our house agree that it’s delicious done that way. Mom has already cooked the sweet potatoes and let them cool. Early tomorrow, she will add the butter, brown sugar and pecans for a tasty dessert. Then, she’ll prepare her dressing. Crumbling the cornbread, mixing in the melted butter, chopped eggs, onions, a sprinkle of sage (not too much, mind!), salt, pepper, a little garlic and some other spices that only she knows about. When you take a mouthful, it’s pure heaven! Yes, these are the times that make a soul glad to be alive. It really is like a Hallmark/Lifetime movie moment in our house during the holidays. While Dad has been raking leaves, cutting and splitting firewood for the winter, Mom has been busy baking cookies, pies and other sweet delectables. There is usually a tin of butterscotch and macadamia nut cookies, one of chocolate chip, and one of what we call “pecan sandies.” We have plenty to nibble on, which helps to explain my winter waistline. There are oranges, apples, walnuts, pecans, cashews and anything else you want if you’re feeling a bit peckish. Yes, it brings back childhood memories and they are so sweet! But that’s not the true message of the holiday, is it? This is a day we Americans set aside to give thanks for the multitude of blessings that have been so graciously bestowed upon us. I don’t know about each one of you and what might be going on in your lives right now. So, I can’t say what you may or may not be thankful for. I can only speak for myself, what I have been given, what I’ve learned and the blessings for which I’m grateful. First and foremost, I am thankful for the two most amazing people I’ve ever met – my mother and father. Mom is 87 and Dad is 89 and they are in great shape, mentally and physically. They astound me every day. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be who and what I am today. They gave me opportunities that many other people never had. Besides traveling around the world before I was a teenager, they taught me that, if you have a dream and put everything you have into it, there are no limits to what you can achieve. I have learned so much from them and, thank God, they are still here so that I can learn even more. I am also most thankful to have been born an American. Some people, especially lately, have begun to think that America isn’t so great anymore but I think this country is the greatest nation ever forged on the face of the Earth. I would rather be born here, right now, than anywhere else at any other time in the history of mankind. We have not only every advantage and opportunity, we also have infinite possibilities for the future. I am deeply thankful for the men and women who have given their time, their efforts, sweat, tears and (oftentimes) their lives to provide the peace and security that we Americans take for granted. We don’t often think about them but, if they weren’t protecting us, we wouldn’t be quite as casual and free to only worry about the cooking tomorrow. They have made our safety their life’s work and they allow us to believe that it is just a common and “regular” thing. I cannot stress this enough. We owe them a debt that many can’t even imagine. To these brave men and women, I give a heartfelt “thank you” and I pray that they and their families have a happy holiday as well. I am thankful for the generations of men and women who have struggled to make our nation great, prosperous and good. From the beginning of this country, there have gone before us many men and women of all colors, who led a life of constant struggle to pave the way in order that we would have a much smoother path than they did. They sacrificed so that we would never know what it means to be hungry, tired or afraid. They suffered the agonizing heat, the brutal cold, the sore muscles, the starvation and, oftentimes, the whip so that we would never have to. We owe our ancestors for things of which we are not even aware, much less able to understand. I will remember them, their anguish and the hardships they endured. I am thankful for the many different races and cultures that have come to this amazing place in order to make it even better. No matter what part of the world your ancestors came from, you have helped to make America the land we all love and live freely within. Each one of us is thankful for different things and we will spend all day tomorrow reflecting on our blessings. I thank God for my parents, my life, my country and the era in which I live. I hope everyone has a truly wonderful and most Happy Thanksgiving. Now, let’s eat!