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For a Truly "American" Thanksgiving

“One of the greatest institutions of the civilized world is the family dining room table”. – Teddy Roosevelt Jr.

As you will soon find out I adore the Roosevelt’s, all of the Roosevelt’s to be exact. This quote from Teddy Jr. exemplifies the reasons why. Although they had a sense of duty and patriotism they never lost sight of their families. For them family was the most important thing. I believe it’s a central reason why they were so successful and why we don’t have many politicians nowadays who come close to polishing their shoes.

Thanksgiving is a time where sitting around a table of family is precisely what the doctor ordered. It is the time to catch up while creating new memories to cherish. It is the time for stopping in our busy lives to acknowledge who is important to us and why. If we don’t know why then perhaps they shouldn’t be in our lives? Certainly some food for thought.
It has been around many of my family’s holiday tables where we have laughed until we cried and then laughed some more. It is where we retell the same story over and over again until we have them all memorized and are impersonating one another. “What’s his name? I don’t know!” That was for you, UF.
An American Thanksgiving is really a link to our past the origins of which go back to 1620. That is even earlier than our first Independence Day on July 4, 1776. I love that the idea of being grateful is the idea behind of nation’s first holiday.

Many countries around the world have a day to give thanks or fall harvest, which is sort of the same thing. The reasons are of course different that created those holidays than ours but I like thinking we are a part of a world tradition proving we are all not so different.
During the holidays I enjoy cooking everything from scratch however my preferred way to celebrate is to travel some place new with my family and even extended family. I look forward to the days in the future when I live in New Orleans part of the year and my family and I can celebrate there. In fact we all went to New Orleans to celebrate Thanksgiving back in 2008. Naturally it was a good time.
But when talking about the origins of Thanksgiving there is a more obvious spot that is the most appropriate place to go, Boston, Massachusetts. Surprisingly the places you would want to visit there are open on Thanksgiving. Pilgrim Plantation will show you how the real Indians and Pilgrims lived during the sixteen hundreds. You can go visit The Mayflower II and best of all feast your eyes on the prize- Pilgrim Rock. That is the holy grail of America and thus Thanksgiving.
I feel like a trip to Boston with family is the best of both worlds. We are spending quality time together retracing our nation’s ancestor’s footprints. Plus you know its Boston and plenty of fun things to do. 
This holiday weekend is definitely one of my favorite weekends to travel during the year and something I hope to do again next year. Where will it take me? I don’t know yet and that is part of the excitement.

For my family a truly American Thanksgiving consists of the less is more approach. Normally there is always an “Italian” element to Thanksgiving meaning there is pasta served as the first entrée and the turkey and fixings as the second. We start with cheeses and meats, definitely carbs, as we do for every holiday. Between the “appetizers” and pasta you can get pretty full pretty fast. Therefore we need an intermission before the turkey cutting. I am usually all done at that point until we get to dessert which we always have too much of.
This year is probably the most relaxing Thanksgiving I have ever had. I am not cooking or traveling. Instead I am home with my immediate family enjoying a plentiful but reasonably sized meal. Since the party is smaller there is definitely no one shouting over the crowd to have a conversation, although that part I never really minded.
I have some time for myself. This is unheard of. I really appreciate the ease since I have to work tomorrow. It is actually feels like a real day off. Usually holiday dates off are busier than an average workday. One of the things I am thankful for today is definitely this soothing vibe.
Previously I have written two other Thanksgiving blogs. The first was the month after New York City was struck by Superstorm Sandy (
The second was about what I am grateful for and all of the amazing charitable acts of kindness that I love around this date. I think the list of the ten things we could all be grateful is my favorite portion of that posting (
Today I am grateful for the little things, seriously little. Like the fact that Hale and Hearty were serving broccoli and cheese soup this week and I ate it with the sandwich I made at home. I am thankful there is a television show called “Hunting Hitler” that fills my mind with history and wonder each week.
I am grateful I forced myself to stay up until the wee hours of many mornings this week to post a blog despite my exhaustion. I am thrilled I caught my bus on time this week. Never mind the countless notices I was getting that my bus ride home with be late and crowded beyond belief.

I am at peace because I did not wake up in pain so if I go to bed with it I will know that at least I had some reprieve today.  Everyone in my family and friends are healthy somehow with a mixture of luck, faith, and science.
Today I need to count all of the love in my life just as the song “Seasons of Love” ( has taught me to.
I want to remember that the things that make or break me in a day are usually things that are inconsequential to others.  I have to acknowledge that my pain is not as bad as others and that I am lucky enough to live in a land with health insurance and people that would take care of me.
As Avenue Q, the former Broadway play, would say: “only for now”. For now is what we should be flat out THANKFUL for and I am.
No matter what there is always something or someone worse off than you, so we should take notice when things are going well. Even if it’s just the little things you are excited about. If there are enough of them they add up to big things.
I know this is easier said than done but I am trying to live this way each day. Just within myself. I cannot let outside energy or issues come into my being and alter the way I am truly feeling. I do not want something insignificant to make me act out of character. I need to retreat into my soul where happiness and peace lie.
Keeping thankfulness in everyday life is not easy but better than the alternative. If this is not happening to you right now than pick another day when you can set aside time to be grateful and at peace with yourself and life.

I am reminded, by the National Museum of Funeral History, that: “any day above ground is a good day”. And so it is.
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