I overheard the cashier ask the woman in the Trader Joe’s check out line if she was finishing up her Thanksgiving shopping. The response from the woman, “I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.” The cashier, instead of standing there with jaw dropped open like I did, quickly commented something to the effect of everyday shopping today for you. I found her comment about not celebrating Thanksgiving to be very interesting and at the same time unsettling, which then made me interested in why I was so unsettled about it. So often we do things in life just because that’s they way we have always done them, and we attach meaning to these things based on our own experiences.
Looking at Thanksgiving, it is a day to give thanks for all I have. The most important things I have are people. So in my life, Thanksgiving has always been about surrounding myself with the people I love and that mostly love me back. Some years the crowd is small, other years there aren’t enough chairs for everyone. Regardless of the size of the gathering, it is always based on love. Part of that love is giving service to others. I give my service of love to my gathering by preparing the food. I want those in my company to feel at ease, welcome, and cared for. Peering out through my perspective on Thanksgiving, I can only assume that the poor woman in Trader Joe’s has no family, surely if she did she would gather for a meal with them on Thanksgiving. Of course that is probably way off base, and she may have a large family of loved ones. But why no Thanksgiving? In my state of unsettledness, I did a little research trying to fill in the blanks of why Thanksgiving would offend a person enough to not want to celebrate it. Lots of Pilgrims and Indians stories, but they were centered around basically a hand full of Pilgrims surviving the winter, planting crops, struggling to harvest crops, and then pausing to give thanks that they made it through another year when so many others had perished. In 1623, Governor William Bradford proclaimed,
“All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His Blessings.”
None of that seemed too offensive, unless you aren’t a fan of God, that could be a discussion for another day. But then in my searching I believe I stumbled, or should I say fumbled, across what might just be the bee in her bonnet about thanksgiving…in 1876, the American Intercollegiate Football Association held it’s first championship game on Thanksgiving day. That’s got to be it! She doesn’t like football! And what is Thanksgiving without the six-legged roasted turkey presented before the Dallas Cowboys kick off?
In all, I am still grasping at why a person shopping at Trader Joe’s two days before Thanksgiving, would not celebrate Thanksgiving. Why would you even want to enter a grocery store the week leading up to Thanksgiving if you didn’t need those few last minute ingredients? Speaking of which, I have been to four stores and I can’t find fresh marjoram. So the day before Thanksgiving, I will bravely venture into a fifth store in hopes of finding it. Next year, remind me to plant some in the garden so I can harvest my gravy herbs and really give thanks for avoiding the stores!