Friday, November 15, 2013


Today, I wonder how it got to be the ides of November already. With one thing or another, I am no where near being prepared for Christmas, and cannot believe that it is a little over a month to go. Valentine's Day is the worst holiday, I think, but Thanksgiving comes in a close second.

Thanksgiving is a hold over from the days when the Romans had vomitoriums, and feasted each other on exotic wines and foods, like hummingbird tongue, until they got sick, and then started all over again. It's not the idea behind Thanksgiving that seems excessive, just the custom of gorging until one is comatose in front of the t.v., where an excess of American football is being played.

This holiday was a real blessing when the first European settlers in the country were starving to death, and that's after eating all the rats and grass around. Legend has it that the Native Americans bailed them out, thereby ensuring their own destruction, by bringing them food.

Since then, the myth of "more is better" has ruled the holiday, until today, we plan meals that will carry us until Christmas Day in leftovers. Indeed, I once tutored an Arab family that I invited to the annual feast. Upon seeing the turkey fresh out of the oven, the father said, "Alice, this is not a bird, this is a sheep!"

I suppose the sappy idea that families get together and bond has something going for it, but the reality is that usually, football and alcohol occupy the families' time until one is released from bondage of an ideal whose time has come and gone.

I prefer the unexpected Thanksgivings: the simple meal with some time on the Parkway, communing with nature. Volunteering at your local animal shelter, or homeless shelter. A walk among the trees, a day in front of the fire, or simply avoiding the day altogether by schlepping around in pajamas.

In other words I can only wish for you what I do for myself: a day filled less with food, and more with Grace.

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