HUMOR – In November 1863, the United States was entrenched in the Civil War, the bloodiest, ugliest war in our nation’s history. Several states had joined against our government in an effort to secede from the Union. Our country was war-torn. The people were divided. Times were bleak. And anyone who has watched “Gone With the Wind” can attest to it. These conditions may seem eerily familiar to some.
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Excellent segué into a humor column, Elise.” Just be patient.
It was in this tumultuous time that President Abraham Lincoln, under pressure from a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale and in an effort to unite a divided country, declared national observance of Thanksgiving.
There are at least two lessons to be learned from this bit of history. First, never underestimate the power of a nagging female. And second, if Americans were capable of joining in a day of gratitude in the throes of the Civil War, then Americans should be capable of showing some gratitude in 2012, for pete’s sake.
I recently read a sobering saying on Pinterest: “Black Friday: Because only in a America will people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” For exactly 30 seconds I reflected about how I should be more grateful for my abundant life – then I resumed pinning pictures of things that I want that I do not have.
Does it occur to anyone else that Thanksgiving has slowly been elbowed out of the way and trampled by bigger, more gift-intensive holidays? Sure, friends and families still gather for a gigantic, pants-shrinking feast, but it is completely overshadowed by the blaring Christmas music and advertisements and inflatable yard Santas in November. This is egregious and offensive and all kinds of other three-syllable words, but I do not blame Christmas. I blame people.
People are awful. People try to make you think that you need things that you do not need. People try to turn a religious holiday into a commercial racket. People try to trick you into thinking that unless you spend hundreds of dollars on electronics for your loved ones, you are a bad spouse/parent/sibling/parole officer. Thanksgiving will always be overshadowed by Christmas because people have yet to find a way to capitalize on gratitude. Because, as Melody Beattie has said, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more.”
What do we have to be grateful for, Southern Utah? I can think of a few things. Besides our freedom, health, low crime rate and being surrounded by spectacular red cliffs, St. George is finally getting a Chick-fil-A restaurant. If you have ever eaten a waffle fry from Chick-fil-A, you know that hope for our nation is not completely lost.
And if on the coming Thanksgiving holiday you can think of absolutely nothing to be grateful for, here is wisdom from one of the most self-absorbed, obnoxious characters in the history of cinema – Scarlett O’Hara: “Tomorrow is another day.”
And that day is Black Friday.
Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.
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