It’s a little after noon on Thanksgiving Day. The turkey’s in the oven, the hors d’oeuvres have have been prepared and tested for quality, and the leaves have been swept off the front entrance to Crabb Hollow. Finally, it’s time to reflect on those things we have to be thankful for.
The list is long, but this year I’d like to thank all those who made this occasion possible. I am speaking of the survivors; the people who made us, quite literally. Our ancestors.
When you think about it, it’s quite amazing. There are a few humans walking the earth today who can trace their forebearers back to their countries of origin through centuries, but most of us didn’t arrive here on the Mayflower, or have the good fortune to be born into a royal family with written archives.
No, most of us are the mongrels who, if you’re lucky, have family histories that go back about a hundred years. Even then, the information is sketchy and has probably been heavily edited by the children to avoid embarrassment.
But if you look back at human history, it seems likely that we come from every circumstance. We were probably kings and queens in one life and slaves in others. We survived wild animals, wars, revolutions, the black death, religious persecution, raping, pillaging, drought, ice ages, and in the best of times only lived into our thirties. We came here from all corners of the planet. We braved angry oceans in wooden ships, or made the long trek over the landbridge at the top of the world. We are the hardiest of the hardy.
So be thankful. I am. No matter how we’ve screwed up in this life, there is always redemption, if you are so inclined. We fight and complain, but usually it is because we believe that things can be better.
And they can be. It’s something we owe to those who will come after us, and to those who fought and scratched their way through life to make ours possible. It’s no small thing.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Very Well Said Bob. I am truly blessed and very thankful every day I wake and feel my feet hit the ground. We had a great dinner with about 10 of us, which included both my parents, brother’s family from Cambodia that got here yesterday, our daughter, aunt, and very close friend.
I hope your day went well and the food quality checks didn’t ruin your appetite for the main course.
Angie and I spent the two days before Thanksgiving on a road trip to eastern Oregon, tracing the migration of my ancestors in the long-forgotten towns of the Oregon gold rush. We found antiquated headstones for 3 of them dating back to the days of the indian wars, and were simply amazed by the stories and first hand accounts of those who lived through the turmoils of that time. What a harsh existence.
And as I laid last night in my bed, stomach bulging from a day of hedonistic engorgement, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that I had, in no way, sacrificed for that meal. My biggest threat in gathering the feast was driving my 4 wheel drive one mile down a paved road to the supermarket; nowhere near the risk of life and limb the ancestors experienced.
In that, we have, on the one hand, nothing near as much to be thankful for, as they could probably not count the near-misses of a year of their existence. On the other hand; I couldn’t be more thankful that I’m not subjected to the life-threatening daily struggle they came through that made my life possible.
For that; I am truly thankful.
Did your trek through eastern Oregon take you to Boardman, named for my grandfather? There’s also a state park on the coast north of Brookings named for him; he was the state parks commissioner for about 30 years and acquired most of the land that makes up the state park system.
The first Boardmans came to North America in about 1640, and (I think it’s safe to say) have seen it all. While none of them became wealthy enough to make me a trust fund baby, many of them have served with distinction over the decades.
We have a family history than runs over 800 pages, and I dip into it occasionally. It reminds me how lucky I am to have been born here, and I thank those brave souls for making the perilous trip across the Atlantic so many years ago.
Actually yes, George, we did. Boardman is not to far from us up the Columbia River. Cool history!
Yeah, my ancestors on my Mom’s side, the Burnhams, came here in the late 1600’s as well. We found one, Gabriel Burnham, was one of only 3 people that Col. Mosely, of the British Navy, said was worth putting on his 1730 map of the Pasquatank region of N. Carolina. I love stuff like that.
Like your ancestors, many served their communities but, also like you, I’m definitely no trust fund babe either. Reading about what they went through; they were truly some tough and incredible people.