I understand why Thanksgiving was originally set for late Fall/early Winter. Thinking about it, I think it should be changed to late January or early February. Not many of us here in the US live lives determined by an agricultural calendar anymore.
It is frigid out today, and expected to get colder as the week goes on. Looking at the weather map, I see this is true for much of the country. In fact I saw that it’s -56 somewhere in the Midwest today. I can’t even imagine -56, I’m whining about 17*. Much as I’m complaining, this is not so unusual for this time of year, we always get a few of these weeks sprinkled in btw December and the end of February.
I thought today would be a perfect kind of day to make chicken soup for the kiddos and Papa. After getting the kids to school, and walking and feeding the dog, I went back out to the stores to get the few ingredients I don’t have on hand for the soup. I have the carrots, the leeks, the pastina, the Parmesan, and the broth. Main ingredient–chicken. Well, Mama’s gotten lazy over the past couple of years, and started buying already cooked rotisserie chickens for soup. It turns out I was too early, and none of the stores had the rotisserie chickens finished yet. I walked home, wondering how I could avoid an extra trip outside in this cold, and still snag a chicken before they’re sold out. This leads me to my Thanksgiving thoughts.
How spoiled am I? Yes, it’s freezing, but I’ve got plenty of warm clothes on, good boots, and a warm apartment. If I don’t get back to the store, there’s food in the refrigerator, no one in the house will be without. Not even the dog. I passed people on the street who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and a “good” spot to sleep is on the steps of the church.
My life is far from perfect. We struggle and juggle to pay bills, and I wish deeply that we were in a position to give our children more of a helping hand financially. Not a free ride, but help. My daughter lives with a chronic medical disorder that makes many days suck for her. My sons live with the fall-out of that disorder. Shouldn’t this all make me more cognizant of what I can and should be grateful for? Not because I want to be a saint, but because I’m a human being.
So, here’s what I propose. A floating Thanksgiving. Each year, look up the coldest predicted day for your area in the Farmer’s Almanac. If you live in a hot climate, choose the hottest day, or the rainiest; you get what I mean. Plan for that day to be the day where you reflect on the basic necessities and creature comforts that you have. Sit with your loved ones around the table and think about what you DO have, as the heat clangs in the pipes, or the air conditioner hums. You don’t have to do this out loud. In fact, whoever is sitting with you would probably prefer that you didn’t. But do it. And eat your soup, even if it’s missing the chicken.