Thanksgiving 2013, scattered thoughts

I think of this as Methodist. We sang it non-denominationally today.


Real quick: can I ask us again to remember the Philippines? To pray and to help?


I would like not to forget that Abraham Lincoln could write this, even in the middle of a civil war:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

This will be the first year I didn’t make a “Richard Armitage Thanksgiving vid,” but I’ve made three in the past. I am no less thankful for the fact and influence of Richard Armitage this year than any other year! I think the first (spoken word — Armitage says thanks) and third (more musical / emotional) years are the best ones. The second one is punny but I don’t think people really got it.

Having had similar experiences to those of this author, I agree that some of the best Thanksgivings I spent as an adult were those spent in Germany, trying to provide an “authentic” Thanksgiving for fellow ex-pats and dear German friends. I have my own “find a turkey big enough for all of your guests that will actually fit in the oven you have available to you” and “cranberries?” and “bringing canned pumpkin through customs” stories.

Canon for 36 voices, attributed to Johannes Ockeghem (d. 1497), on the text Deo gratias (“thanks be to G-d”)

Although I have not been in the habit of spending Thanksgiving with my parents since about 2001, the holiday is hitting me a bit harder than I’d have expected. When I saw pumpkin pies for sale in the grocery store yesterday, I remembered what my brother said during the pre-funeral conversation about how memorable my mother’s were and my appetite evaporated. Looking back at my attempts to comment on the holiday’s meaning to me, it strikes me that I’ve been so regularly giving thanks for my parents’ survival. Architect wrote me a long message this morning, reminiscing ecstatically about the tiny peas our grandmother put on the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas and giving me the latest on her planned breast cancer therapy. The same students as last year called me up, so I spent this morning and midday doing what I did last year. I’m spending the afternoon in my favorite café, keeping my favorite baristas — who will work their usual shifts from 5 a.m. to midnight today — company. While I write and grade and hope to see a beautiful sunset through the café’s picture window.

This is what I am thankful for this year. Looking back at the last few months, I am thankful for all the support I received from everyone in my real and virtual lives this year. I am thankful that love did not fail even if my feelings of grief are nowhere near manageable, describable, or digestible in writing at this point.

And looking at the last ten days or so, I am thankful that every time I was about to throw up my hands in exasperation and quit, a message came to tell me to hang in there. Whether it’s some words about attitude and decisionmaking from an interview with Richard Armitage that broke when I’m worried about the path ahead — or supportive messages from readers about blogging — or, whether, after an evening spent grousing to Pesky about how our instructional model doesn’t work and no one is learning anything, it’s a Chanukkah card  from everyone in my Wednesday afternoon lecture.

I am thankful for encouragement, wherever it comes from. As we said when I was a child, Let us give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it. May the hungry be fed, may the lonely be comforted.

~ by Servetus on November 28, 2013.

20 Responses to “Thanksgiving 2013, scattered thoughts”

  1. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, Chanukkah and weekend, S. While I am not religious at all, I like this opportunity to say thank you. So thanks to you for a year of blogging, despite professional and personal hardship, for keeping the blog open and running, for writing your meticulously researched posts, for re-blogging noteworthy contributions from others, for instigating discussion, for setting a standard – simply for being present. On an more personal note I would also like to thank you for having me, for continually provoking, inspiring, questioning, supporting and challenging me. What you wrote about liberation today resonates with me. I am grateful to have found you, your blog, this fandom, RA, and a whole new side of me.
    Danke. xx


  2. Wishing you peace on Thanksgiving and Chanukkah, Servetus, and to all your celebrating readers.


  3. Thank you for that bit of beauty and peace. It made me stop and think of all I needed to feel thanks for rather than sitting here feeling alone. I needed to be thankful for all that I have experienced in my life. I thought of whether I wouldn’t have traded all of that to have my parents and family back and to have had the life that most people have rather than what I actually did have. I realize that this wasn’t the life that was intended for me so I give thanks for all the enjoyment and sometimes the sadness of my life as it has been. I know you are still grieving and I understand that. It takes a long time to get to the point where seeing something that reminds you of a loved one actually brings a smile or some joy to the heart but it will happen one day. There will always be some sadness attached to it but not so much pain. You aren’t ready for that yet. I am thankful for everyone here and for the support, challenge, fun and laughs it has brought to my life. I thank you Servetus for that because you have certainly stimulated my mind here and I needed that. So Happy Thanksgiving, Chanukkah and have a great weekend.


    • happy Thanksgiving to you too. Advent coming Sunday with even more relfection. Really too much at the moment, I think. hang in there.

      I’m going to play this piece to my students on Monday with a reminder to stay calm during finals …


  4. Today I spend cooking for tomorrow, Mr. 70 and son1 work the evening shift today and no point stuffing them full of food to go and work. Tomorrow we will eat and hopefully my MIL and oldest BIL will be here ( MIL has not been well, possible shingles in the face ).

    Thinking of pie, pie was my dad favorite any kind would do. So I will make two plus a cake for MIL’s birthday on Sunday. Since my dad has not spent the past few years eating at holiday’s with us ( his Gerry chair would have not fit in any of our doors ) I have not felted that part of loss, but yet I do.

    I am thankful that he is no longer in pain, I miss him but not seeing him in pain and not being able to tell us. All the boys are well and so I am, so health.

    I am also thankful for a great bunch of friends here. Thank you Servetus for being able to write what others feel, I have a lot in my head but that is where it stays.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all! Now back to cooking.


    • what kind of pie did you make?

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I think just saying, we’re here and we’re okay, is often a big triumph.


      • I will get up at 4:30 am or 5:00 am if I am lazy to make the pies. Pumpkin for sure, but there is the big debate or apple or blueberry. Mr. 70 could care less, not a pie person. I am making a pumpkin cake for his mom’s birthday, 2 days early. I better go to bed and get to sleep.

        I was on at that time, I was buying the bow for son2’s Christmas gift, got 20% off. Thank you GoG now he is on he is on the school archery team ( his first year, the schools second).

        It maybe hard but to know we can reach out to others, helps.


  5. I will simply say Thank you for your blog my friend – you know I think you’re awesome.


  6. Sometimes memories hit hard…. 😦 I send you another big bear hug, hang in there!

    I hope everyone who celebrate has a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  7. It was fun to rewatch your old vids. Kind of a déjà-vu.
    Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving in the US, as my holidays are always in August and September. Too bad! Really would have loved to share one of this delicious-looking turkey-dinners with friends and relatives, as several are fantastic cooks. BTW since a few years you can find dishes with pumpkins of all sorts very often on menus throughout Southern Germany (I’m not so well-informed about the rest of Germany, but will def check on my 5-day visit to Berlin next week!! ;-))
    Hope you had an enjoyable feast day. Thanks a million for all those “words” you share with me/us.


    • I felt a bit bad not making one this year, as I’d looked forward to it, but there will be other opportunities.

      I remember when the pumpkins sort of appeared on the market in the mid/late-90s in Germany … most people who make pumpkin pies in the US actually use canned puree these days (easier to know you have the right consistency).

      Thanks for your kind words.


  8. Blessings for Thanksgiving and Chanukkah. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs!


  9. Amen, (((Servetus))):*


  10. […] and a Thanksgiving / John Porter fantasy; 2012 (when I was thankful for the ceasefire in Gaza); 2013 (when I was still drowning in […]


  11. […] from previous Thanksgivings are here: 2014 (includes the Armitage Thanksgiving vids), 2013, 2012, 2011, […]


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