Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and South, come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.
What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?
- John Greenleaf Whittier, "The Pumpkin"
Some of the most honored memories of my childhood are of the gatherings held at my grandparents home on Thanksgiving Day. We watched the Macy's Parade. We ate and ate and ate. We laughed and talked. We had fun. We were reminded that though we were often far apart, we were still together in spirit. We were reminded of the gift of family.
When you are surrounded by your loved ones this Thanksgiving Day, think of what life would be like if you were missing just one of its members. What if there were no family with which you could celebrate at all? The holiday would lack any glimmer. And life would seem less full.
Tomorrow, it is my sincere hope that everyone watches floats enter Times Square, hollers for their favored football team, eats a large meal, and most of all, enjoys the company of family. Be thankful of them.
Some will be gathering with strangers tomorrow. There are many who, tomorrow of all days, will be without their families, whether because they are fighting overseas or because dire circumstances has landed them in crowds of others less fortunate.
And if you can spare a few dollars, consider helping another get a meal as good as the one you will be sharing with your family. Many shelters and food pantries are strapped this holiday season. If you can spare even a little, maybe everyone will eat tomorrow.