A reflection on giving thanks

As I head out to the grocery store to shop for my Thanksgiving meal, I am thankful that my family is coming to gather at my home. I am thankful that I have the means to host everyone and provide a delicious meal. Several of the dishes I plan to serve have been grown in my garden, either frozen when they were harvested over the summer (beets) or still waiting to be picked, gathering sweetness from the cold nights and days (brussels sprouts). The other vegetables were purchased at the farmers market from a vendor who was still able to grow food in his greenhouse. The items I have to purchase from the grocery store are the staples and desserts ( although I will be using the apples we picked at the orchard for my pie). It gives me a happy feeling to eat what I have grown, as much as is possible, on this symbolic day.

Aside from the historical aspect of what happened in the years after the first feast, the picture of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags feasting together, celebrating their bounty and sharing their customs, is really what the spirit of Thanksgiving has become. It is a time of families to gather-to laugh, to cry, to share. It is the most travelled time of the year. The great distances that people are willing to cover to be with their loved ones on this day demonstrates that principle. The ones who can not join their families, often find friends or neighbors to share the meal with. Others volunteer their time serving meals to the less fortunate.

Unfortunately, those numbers are on the rise. The local food pantry is expecting to serve 1800 meals this Thanksgiving, up 28% from last year. When I think of all the people who have lost their jobs or homes, who will find this the only place to get a good meal for the holiday, it truly makes me thankful. So, as I wrap up my purchases I will make sure to drop a few items in the collection bin as a small way of helping others in the spirit of Thanksgiving.