Thursday, November 1, 2007

Get with the gratitude


By David Gewirtz

Thanksgiving is upon us here in the United States. While the true history of Thanksgiving is subject to some controversy (isn't pretty much everything, these days?) there are certain elements of the modern Thanksgiving celebration we can all take to heart -- even for those of you who don't live in these United States.

The food

The first such element, of course, is the food. Turkey, in particular dark meat turkey, is the food of the gods. It must be celebrated and consumed. It must be sought out with a level of sociopathic abandon reserved for only the most important things in life.

I wrote about this back in 2003, in David's guide to surviving Thanksgiving (and some computer stuff). It's a worthwhile read if you really want to understand the true Jedi skills necessary to master the quest for the dark meat.

The fuss

Thanksgiving in the U.S. is nothing, if it's not a fuss. For years, when my family and I were separated by a 3,000-mile wide continent, a few of my friends and I would do Thanksgiving in whatever Chinese restaurant happened to be open in San Francisco. While you'd be amazed at how creative a Chinese food chef can get when you're the only customer in the place, there's really no substitute for the family table.

Cari Cooney just wrote a great article on this, in Thanks for the memories: how to take perfect Thanksgiving pictures. If you're having a family gathering, she's got some great tips.

If it's over the river and thru the woods you're going to be traveling this week, Becky Wolfe has shared some great ideas for fall photos in Getting intimate with fall photography.

Of course, you can take fall photos only if you're in a part of the country where there's a fall season. Here in Florida, the only way you can tell it's almost Thanksgiving is because the Christmas carols have started and the snowbirds have come to roost.

The gratitude

It took me a long time to learn, but learn it I did. Gratitude is a powerful feeling and getting with some gratitude can bring perspective to a crazy world. Each Thanksgiving, I make it a practice to list those things I'm grateful for, and then notice just how many of them there are, and just how wonderful they've made my life.