“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
Tag Archives: Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving 2022!
Those of us who served time in the corporate working world are all too familiar with the often-loathsome office party – the annual end-of-the-year gathering where coworkers pretend they’ve loved spending so much of their time throughout the year with one another. One good thing about working freelance is that I’ve been able to avoid such mundane bacchanalias. But 2020 has allowed many in the workforce to evade the antics of business life.
At the end of 1999, executives at the bank in Dallas where I worked conjured up the bright idea of staging quarterly workplace assemblages to encourage team building. This was also when the idiotic concept of multi-tasking had become forcibly fashionable. In January of 2000, we were to gather at a restaurant / gaming house to have dinner and then engage in some kind of laser tag amusement. Since it took place after work, I informed my manager and constituents I could not make it; that it would cut into my free time, which would only serve to aggravate me and not make me love them any more than I already didn’t. I wasn’t the only one with the same sentiment. In April we took off in the middle of the day to patronize…a bowling alley. I absolutely HATE bowling. Like golf, I don’t consider anything near a sport. Any activity where people dress up in ugly slacks or short pants and consume alcohol at the same time isn’t a sport! But, as Gloria Gaynor once bellowed, I survived.
In July, we gathered after work for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. Afterwards, we were to stroll to a local movie theatre and watch “The Perfect Storm”, which had just been released. I had already read the book of the same name written by Sebastian Junger. I would have liked to see the movie, but not right then, seated alongside my coworkers. Besides, dinner and a movie doesn’t sound like a team-building exercise; it sounds more like a date. Again I expressed myself and didn’t go to the movie, even though the bank was paying for it.
The following month all hell seemed to break loose, when the bank underwent a major management rearrangement and several mid-level managers (including mine) had their jobs eliminated. So much for team-building!
Photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager obviously comprehends the uncomfortable nature of the dreaded office party and has captured its mendacity in a new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “Farewell, Work Holiday Parties” pays homage to the drudgery of the working world and the demands it often imposes upon its minions who often spend more time at work than at home. The exhibit features about a dozen sculptures that look eerily like real people when photographed. They’re bizarre moments of debauchery and stupidity perpetrated under the guise of workplace camaraderie. It’s a little bit of “The Poseidon Adventure” (a New Year’s party wrecked by a rogue wave) mixed with “Die Hard” (an office Christmas party ravaged by well-dressed terrorists).
Regardless, the images are certain to bring tears and/or smiles to many and a general sense of, “Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that shit anymore!”
Filed under Art Working
Photos of the Week – November 28, 2020
These are images of people waiting at various food banks across the United States in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I’m sure these people are thrilled to know the Dow Jones Industrial reached 30,000 this week. This happened in the richest goddamn country in the world.
Before eating, always take time to thank the food.
I don’t know if this can possibly be a happy Thanksgiving for anyone in the United States right now – what with all of the chaos that has made this year a time most of us want to forget. For me and millions of others across this nation, not much good has come of it. If anything, though, Thanksgiving holiday moves us closer to the end of the year and further into the future. As much as religious and social conservatives despise it, time does move forward.
I’m primarily thankful I’ve reached this point without losing my mind. I had some moments a few months ago when I didn’t know if I’d live to see the dawn. Depression and anxiety have always been two of greatest nemeses.
But here I am. I’m still thankful I have the same small cadre of friends I’ve had for years. And I’m thankful I have a home and have had enough financial resources lately to get through this – the worst period of my life to date. Too many people have neither.
While I’m glad I have some semblance of hope, I know there are so many people struggling more than me. As this holiday known for family gatherings and an abundance of food hobbles along through a global pandemic, I can only cringe at the large numbers of my fellow Americans dealing with so-called food insecurity – a polite term for hunger.
There have been an untold number of food drives the past few weeks across the country; where charity outfits have been distributing free food to people. People who are unemployed or underemployed and on the cusp of homelessness. While the elite continue to waddle in their gluttony and an incompetent Congress dismisses the suffering the way a serial killer tosses their victims, literally millions of Americans are wondering how they’re going to survive. This – in the wealthiest and most powerful goddamn country on Earth.
I can beseech those people to understand there IS a tomorrow. The sun WILL rise. And, as tough and grueling as it is, they can’t give up on themselves.
Image: Banahas, prickly pear paddles, dandelion salad and white tail deer. Photo by Caleb Condit & Rebecca Norden
Filed under News
Be careful what you say. And write. And post in an advertisement. In trying to keep Americans’ spirits energized for the upcoming holidays, the Giant Foods grocery chain created this jewel for its food platter offerings – without fact-checking the verbiage. In the midst of a lethal pandemic the last thing anyone desires is a “super-spreader” event. I mean, we already have one in the White House.
Giant Foods apologized for the ad and promptly pulled it. I have to admit all that cheese, shrimp and wine looks delectable! Just don’t breathe on it!
Filed under Curiosities
Retro Quote – Jay Leno
“Thanksgiving began in 1621 when Native Americans sat down with a bunch of undocumented pilgrims. They had dinner, and the pilgrims never left.”
– Jay Leno
Filed under History
Happy Thanksgiving 2014!
“Great Spirit and all unseen, this day we pray and ask You for guidance,
humbly we ask You to help us and fellow men to have recourse to peaceful
ways of life, because of uncontrolled deceitfulness by humankind. Help
us all to love, not hate one another.
We ask you to be seen in an image of Love and Peace. Let us be seen in
beauty, the colors of the rainbow. We respect our Mother, the planet,
with our loving care, for from Her breast we receive our nourishment.
Let us not listen to the voices of the two-hearted, the destroyers of mind,
the haters and self-made leaders, whose lusts for power and wealth will
lead us into confusion and darkness.
Seek visions always of world beauty, not violence nor battlefields.
It is our duty to pray always for harmony between man and earth, so that
the earth will bloom once more. Let us show our emblem of love and goodwill
for all life and land.
Pray for the House of Glass, for within it are minds clear and pure as ice
and mountain streams. Pray for the great leaders of nations in the House of
Mica who in their own quiet ways help the earth in balance.
We pray the Great Spirit that one day our Mother Earth will be purified
into a healthy peaceful one. Let us sing for strength of wisdom with all
nations for the good of all people. Our hope is not yet lost, purification
must be to restore the health of our Mother Earth for lasting peace and
Techqua Ikachi – Hopi Prayer for Peace
Happy American Thanksgiving!
“Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.
Remain close to the Great Spirit.
Show great respect for your fellow beings.
Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.
Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
Do what you know to be right.
Look after the well-being of mind and body.
Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
Be truthful and honest at all times.
Take full responsibility for your actions.
Let us greet the dawn of a new day,
when all can live as one with nature,
and peace reigns everywhere.
Oh Great Spirit, bring to our brothers and sisters,
the wisdom of Nature and the knowledge,
that if her laws are obeyed,
this land will again flourish,
and grasses and trees will grow as before.
Guide those that through their councils,
seek to spread the wisdom of their leaders to all people.
Heal the raw wounds of the Earth,
and restore to our soul the richness,
which strengthens our bodies,
and makes them us in our councils.
Bring to all the knowledge that great cities,
live only through the bounty,
of the good earth beyond their paved streets,
and towers of stone and steel.”
“Native American Commandments”
– Jasper Saunkeah, Cherokee
Americans know the story. The Mayflower Pilgrims – thankful to survive, first, a brutal voyage across the Atlantic and, second, a nasty winter sat down with a group of locals (a.k.a. Indians) and had a bountiful feast of food. Like many American legends, it’s a mixture of truth and hyperbole. But, as time progresses and historians research more, Americans are starting to realize they actually may have experienced more than just one “First Thanksgiving.”
Along with Thanksgiving, descendants of the Mayflower like to claim they established the first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States. They’re wrong on both counts. Long before the Mayflower even set sail, Spanish explorers had spread throughout much of present-day Latin America and what is now the southwestern U.S. In 1565, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles arrived in northeastern Florida. He named the stretch of land near the inlet in honor of Augustine, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church; it was on Augustine’s feast day – August 28 – that Menendez de Aviles and his crew had sighted land. Menendez de Aviles and his contingent of some 1,500 mostly military personnel encountered the Timucuan Indians who had occupied the region for millennia. The Spaniards had brought pork, olive oil and wine, but the Timucuans helped them gather oysters and giant clams. At some point immediately afterwards, the two groups feasted together. The city eventually became St. Augustine, and today its residents declare they are home to the nation’s first Thanksgiving celebration.
At Texas’ westernmost point sits the city of El Paso, where humans first settled around 10,000 B.C. In March of 1598, another Spanish explorer named Don Juan de Oñate led an expedition across the Chihuahua Desert, hoping to colonize regions north of the massive Rio Grande. After a 50-day trek, Oñate and his entourage of roughly 500 people, including several children, arrived in the area of contemporary El Paso. Most were barely alive. They’d exhausted their supplies of food and water; a rain shower saving them at one point. Once they reach the El Paso area, though, conditions and circumstances improved. The indigenous Tigua Indians helped the Oñate group capture wild game and fish. After several days of recuperation, Oñate ordered a feast to venerate the expedition’s survival. On April 30, 1598, the Spaniards and the Tiguas celebrated together.
A member of the expedition wrote: “We built a great bonfire and roasted the meat and fish, and then all sat down to a repast the like of which we had never enjoyed before. . . We were happy that our trials were over; as happy as were the passengers in the Ark when they saw the dove returning with the olive branch in his beak, bringing tidings that the deluge had subsided.”
In April of 1989, the city of El Paso began honoring the Oñate celebration, laying claim to that coveted “First Thanksgiving” mantle. But, Florida and Texas aren’t alone.
The state of Maine also stakes a claim to the “First Thanksgiving” on the basis of a service held by colonists on August 9, 1607, to give thanks for a safe voyage led by George Popham.
Connecticut may be the first state to set aside an official annual day of general thanksgiving. Some records claim the first proclamation came on September 18, 1639.
In 1630, the Massachusetts Bay Colony observed a special day of prayer that is now often called the “First Thanksgiving.” Even earlier in Florida, a small colony of French Huguenots living near present-day Jacksonville noted a special thanksgiving prayer.
Virginians are convinced their ancestors celebrated the first Thanksgiving when Jamestown settlers in 1610 held a religious service and a feast honoring their survival of a harsh winter.
President Abraham Lincoln may have declared the first official Thanksgiving holiday in 1863. But, along with Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Virginia, the states of New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont all had annual thanksgiving observances before the 19th century. New York joined them in 1817, and soon afterwards Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin followed.
Centuries ago, our ancestors didn’t think much about the far future – not to the same degree we do now. They were glad to survive one day at a time. Feasts of thanksgiving – surviving a harsh winter, a summer, or a monsoon – were always reasons to celebrate. Our predecessors understood how dependent they were upon the world’s natural elements; they never felt they could control the wind and the rain. They were at nature’s mercy. And, everyone should be thankful for that.
Filed under Essays