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Column: We shouldn't reduce giving thanks to a single meal
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

Here we are, the week we are supposed to give thanks.

A lot of folks seem to have a hard time with that. There are reports that we are having a shortage of turkeys. OK, have a chicken or for that matter have a ham. There is no law that says we have to bake a turkey.

I have a lot of friends who live up north and out west and they like to have stuffing with their turkey. If we run short of stuffing, then hallelujah! I’ll send you a recipe for cornbread dressing and, trust me, you’ll never go back. I’ll include a recipe for sweet tea and sweet potato casserole.

Somehow, Thanksgiving has been reduced to a meal. Yes, it is wonderful to have those we love around us and share a hearty meal, but it is more than that.

One of the songs I learned as a child was “Count Your Blessings.” This is not the version sung by the great crooner, Bing Crosby, in the movie “White Christmas.” This is an old hymn that tells us if we count our blessings, one by one, we will be amazed at what God has done 

for us.

If you woke up in a warm house in a comfortable bed, you should be thankful. Right here in our community we have an invisible group of people who are completely homeless, living in a car or some kind of ramshackle house. We are a blessed people.

Did you put on a coat today or shoes without holes in them?  Be thankful. There are folks who cover themselves in rags, leaves, a box or newspaper to stay warm.

Have you taken time to say thanks to our creator for blessing us so well? No, we’re too busy complaining about something else.

If you find yourself in the coming days with a little bit of time between shifts of eating and watching a parade or football game, take a notepad and write down a few things that have been a blessing for you in the previous year. There are some grouses who don’t think anything good has happened in the past year or two.

But we are a blessed people. As I write this, I can look out the window and see a cloudless, blue sky and what remains of our fall color. While I know it will soon disappear, I’m drinking it in while I can.

I am thankful for friends who have been supportive in recent days when I was not well. They are indeed a blessing.

I’m thankful for teachers, nurses, doctors and public safety professionals. Has anyone called 9-1-1 and been told that no one is around? Probably not. We have so many people who have answered the call, especially during this pandemic, and have been there for us all.

I’m thankful for people who read books and newspapers. I’m thankful that people are reading anything. I shudder when I think of how many people get all their news from one source. There are many ways to find out what is happening and make a logical decision for yourself. Just because a talk show host or some other person thinks they have the answers doesn’t mean that it is right.

I’m thankful for people who continue to read my writing in this space. For that, I am truly blessed.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns publish weekly. 

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