Andrea Langworthy's column: Giving thanks
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Every year it takes me back. To my childhood, when all our relatives came over for turkey and trimmings.
To the years when my then-hubby and I dragged our kiddies from one side of the city to another on Turkey Day — to his parents’ house and then, to mine. To the times when we hosted the feast and roasted the bird.
My now-hubby and I will have a quiet Thanksgiving this year. Just the two of us. We won’t even cook a turkey. Instead, the day before, my better half will visit one of our favorite stores where he will pick up the food I ordered last week. Fully-cooked side dishes, a pie and a two-pound turkey breast.
We’ll probably sleep late on Thursday, spend some time reading the newspapers and eating breakfast. We’ll watch the Macy’s parade on television. I’ll retell the story of the year my former spouse and I watched the parade with our children from a New York City sidewalk. Like the good fellow he is, he’ll act like it’s the first time he’s heard the tale.
After that, we’ll pop a DVD in the computer and settle back to watch a movie. Then, watch another or play a game of Scrabble. Around three o’clock, we’ll start getting things ready so we can warm our feast in the oven. We’ll remark that the house is filled with the same fragrance whether you start with an uncooked bird or one that just needs to be reheated.
When we sit down to eat, we’ll take some time to enumerate what we’re grateful for.
Gratitude. An underrated virtue, don’t you think?
I remember watching an Oprah show in the mid-1990s. Her guest was Sarah Ban Breathnach who had written a book titled “Simple Abundance.” The idea of being grateful every day for what I have — for the tiny little moments and small acts of kindness — set off something inside me. I bought the book and, also, Ban Breathnach’s gratitude journal. One for my hubby, too.
Before we went to sleep every night, we filled the five empty lines on that day’s page with the things for which we were grateful. The rule was that we couldn’t write the same things every day or make general statements like “my family” or “my wife” or “my job.”
Forced to be specific, we were open to, and aware of, each moment that makes up a blessed day. And as each happened, we made a mental note to remember it for the journal.
“My love brought me a cup of coffee this morning,” for instance. Or, “Fun phone call with my mom.”
Simple things like being grateful for the husband who drives to St. Paul to pick up your favorite Thanksgiving food stuffs and instead of acting like it’s a pain in the you-know-what, asks what kind of wine he should buy for the meal.
Try it. You don’t need a special book or even a piece of paper. Just mentally go through your day before you doze off every night. Savor the things that made your soul sing. The words or deeds that touched your heart. Filled you with gratitude. You’ll rest easy. I promise.