Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

A Short Post For A Long Day

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but it tends to be a long day–both for those of us having family over, and for people traveling across town or across country to be with  family and friends.

What I love about Thanksgiving–aside from having my nuclear and extended family around the table–is that it requires us to focus on how fortunate most of us are. And we are fortunate. No one’s life is perfect, but whatever deficits we’ve racked up, in my family we have our health, food to eat, homes to sleep in, supportive friends and people to love. So it’s good.

When we look beyond our personal situations, of course, it’s a different story.

It’s one thing to recognize my own blessings; it’s another to look at a world in which unrest and White Nationalism are growing, or to follow reports of  the daily damage that Trump is inflicting on America.  I worry constantly about the social, economic and environmental challenges my grandchildren will face.

If we work hard and are very lucky, next Thanksgiving we will be grateful for the electoral defeat of Trumpworld– grateful for confirmation that good Americans outnumber the racists in his cult. (If we aren’t lucky, we can kiss the America I’ve believed in goodbye.) We shall see what the next year brings.

In the meantime, let me share some things for which I am immensely grateful:

  • The readers of this blog, including but absolutely not limited to those who take the time and trouble to comment. It really helps to know that others share my angst.
  • The fact that no one who will be at my Thanksgiving table is a Trump supporter–or even close. (I told you I have a wonderful family.)
  • For my awesome students, who constantly demonstrate inclusiveness and concern for community and fundamental fairness–I’d turn the country over to them right now.
  • And for a husband and family who put up with me….

To all of you: happy turkey day. We can return to the disaster that is our federal government tomorrow.


Thanksgiving Day

Let’s all take the day off.

Thanksgiving is at our house today, and I intend to stop obsessing–at least for today– over the multiplying challenges Americans face in the wake of an incomprehensible election.

Instead, I will remind myself of all the things I have to be thankful for: a wonderful and supportive husband, children and step-children and children-in-law who make me proud (and who still inexplicably like to “hang out” with the old folks), four perfect grandchildren and one wonderful granddaughter-in-law (grandchildren, as my husband likes to say, are our reward for not killing our children) and an extended family of truly good people.

Neighbors and friends who are neighborly and friendly.

Former and current students who give me hope for the future, and who keep me challenged and young. (Well, young-ish) Colleagues who are collegial and intellectually stimulating.

Good health, a roof over my head and food on my table.

And last but certainly not least, the community of thoughtful and engaged “commenters”  at this blog, whose observations and conversations illuminate the issues we face and give me food for thought.

I hope all of you have a great Turkey Day, and an equal number of blessings to appreciate.

Tomorrow, of course, we need to go back to the barricades.


Happy Thanksgiving from the Gratitude Nazi

I know that this blog isn’t exactly a “happy place”–most days, it is devoted to discussions of thorny problems, counterproductive policies, and the various disabilities of an aging republic.

But today is Thanksgiving, and this “Gratitude Nazi” (my children’s not-so-fond description of me on turkey day, when I insist that everyone at the table tell what they are grateful for) wants to acknowledge some of the blessings for which I am incredibly grateful:

  • a wonderful family–including a husband who puts up with me, children and stepchildren who have made me proud, and PERFECT, WONDERFUL grandchildren.
  • a fantastic network of friends. I lost two who were very important to me this year, but I remain incredibly grateful for the time we had and the gifts of their friendships.
  • Thoughtful and collegial co-workers who are always willing to help me analyze issues and identify new approaches, and who are smart and funny and supportive and just good companions.
  • the community that has grown up around this blog–a group of people composed of both real-life and virtual friends, whose commentary never fails to illuminate a subject or teach me something new.
  • the fact that all of my problems are “First World” problems.

So happy Thanksgiving, everyone. While we enjoy our turkey and all the “fixings,” let’s take some time to recognize our blessings and be thankful for them–and let’s resolve to redouble our efforts to work for a society that provides everyone with reasons to share that gratitude.

See you tomorrow.


Happy Thanksgiving from the Gratitude Nazi

My children call me the “gratitude Nazi” because each Thanksgiving, I insist we take some time–before tucking into the turkey–to consider how fortunate we are.

In this blog, I tend to focus on things that distress me, or make me angry (or–increasingly–despondent). On Thanksgiving, however, it’s appropriate to reflect on how much I have to be grateful for.

I’m an incredibly lucky person. I have an intellectually-stimulating job I thoroughly enjoy, a loving and supportive (okay, forbearing!) husband, wonderful children (both biological and acquired), perfect grandchildren and longtime good friends. I’m also not ALICE, for which I am deeply grateful.

I’m privileged, and I know it.

I’m conscious of all my good fortune, but today, I especially want to acknowledge the gratitude I feel for the little community that has developed in the comments section of this blog. It has been a totally unexpected benefit of my foray into cyber “venting,” and one that I have come to value very highly.

I know only two or three of you from the “real world.” The rest of you I know only from our interactions here. I have learned so much from your thoughtful comments, suggestions and reactions, from the sharing of different perspectives, and most of all from the evidence your presence has provided that civil, constructive discussion of even very difficult and sensitive issues is both possible and enlightening.

I am very grateful for all of you who visit and help me make sense of the tumultuous world within which we must all make our ways.

Happy Turkey Day!



For the past couple of years, our family has gathered for our Thanksgiving meal on the Saturday following the “proper” Thursday; it allows those coming in from the coasts to get better airfares, and those with “other” families to split their time equitably among relatives. So–although there seems to be some sentiment for a return to the traditional day of celebration–yesterday was our big meal.

And big it was! 22 people around three tables. Two turkeys, and multiple dishes, many assigned to children and siblings in advance. (My sister always brings the sweet potatoes–our daughter brings veggies, my daughter-in-law’s usually stuck with appetizers.)

I know that Thanksgiving is an ordeal for many people, a time of enforced conviviality with seldom-seen relatives who pry or judge, disagree politically, are more or less religious or are otherwise less than pleasant. But the thing I’m most grateful for is a family that isn’t at all like that. Our family includes not just blood relatives, but long-time friends, and relatives of relatives. This year, we welcomed the parents of my nephew’s partner. (My sister and brother-in-law have decided that even if it doesn’t work out between Josh and Michael, they’re keeping Michael’s parents!) We had nephews from both coasts, cousins from Florida, a son from New York, all our children and all but one of our grandchildren (our oldest granddaughter lives in England–she was missed!)

I’m probably biased, but I think our Thanksgiving table(s) are a perfect reflection of America.

We have Jews, Protestants, Catholics,Buddhists and atheists. We have gays and straights. We have native-born Americans and immigrants.

What we don’t have any more, I realized yesterday, are Republicans. And that’s interesting, because fifteen years ago, most of the people at my Thanksgiving tables were Republican. My sister used to poll her neighborhood for her precinct committee person. My brother-in-law was showing some disquieting signs of imminent “Fox-afication.” My husband and I were still hanging in, believing–hoping–that the sharp-right tilt of the party we’d worked for so long was a temporary aberration. A couple of the kids had already deserted, and several of us were getting uneasy, but like so many others, we had deep, longstanding ties to the GOP. We were loyal.

On the other hand….

We would all describe ourselves as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. We are all–every single one of us, whatever our religious beliefs, national origins or sexual orientations–pro-science. Pro-empirical evidence. Pro-diversity. Pro-reality.

And so here we were, this year, a now group composed entirely of Democrats and Independents. A group of people who favor reproductive choice and same-sex marriage, and worry about global climate change.

There’s a lesson for the GOP here, and I hope the party learns it. The country needs two credible political parties, and if our family is typical (and I think it is), we’ve pretty much lost one.