I don't have much time, the boys are watching the Macy's Parade thingee. I wanted to show you these quickly before things get too busy around here:
There at the top is a lovely drawing Nick did at school. I often wonder what the schools would do without the deep and moving canon of heartwarming turkey iconography. Do they ever make the connection that we, uh, well, er... slay them, pluck them, eviscerate them and then eat them? I hope not.
That second image is from Zack and is, obviously, The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving. At least that's all I can figure. I think it's a rogue turkey on steroids.
Thanksgiving is easy to understand, essentially. Things get a little mixed up when kids begin to study it, what with the Pilgrims and Native Americans and all that. Honestly, they seem to get it, at its simplest level, and that's fine with me. Here's the story they understand: Dudes names Pilgrims came here, Natives accepted them and helped them and they had turkey and pie to celebrate. Basically a party.
The other night I watched a Frontline producion on PBS called 'Poor Kids' which tells the story of hunger and need from the perspective of kids in actual poverty. It was very difficult to watch and it wounded me in my most vulnerable place; that place where love and honor and decency, hope and charity and duty all meet to form the walls that protect our children. Sometimes those walls aren't built with enough integrity to stay up, sometimes they are not secured correctly and, sometimes, they have simply been forgotten.
The night after I watched it, I was doing laundry around here and was bitching in my head about how much there was to wash, eight friggin' loads to be exact. One of the kids in the documentary said: "If it wouldn't fit in my bookbag, I couldn't take it to the shelter."
One of the kids on the show said he missed his cellphone because "we move all the time so it's the only way I can keep up with my friends." I complain about how slow one of our computers is and I often wish I had a slick new iPad or a better scanner. We actually have three working computers and yet I feel the need to want more and better.
I watched as a Dad crouched in the cold, barehandedly working on his car, tried to decide what part of his car's brakes to fix, and what could last another few weeks, wondering what would be safest for his family. I sometimes wish I had a better truck or a slick SUV or a new mini-van.
One boy, nearly a man really, marveled at the irony of sometimes having cereal and no milk and other times, having milk and no cereal. Another girl spoke through tears about how sometimes she didn't want to get up in the morning because there was no breakfast. Sometimes, I wish we could eat more expensive steaks and fish and such; I wish we could go out more often or order carryout.
A newly homeless mother walked into a rented motel room and, although apparantly promised, there was no mini-fridge or microwave, and she wept in worry about that. The other day I went on a huge rant about how much I hated my stove and needed a new one, the very stove which was baking corn bread and cooking a nice pile of pork cutlets.
One little girl, the same one who didn't want to get up in the morning, spoke excitedly about how much she loved to dance and hoped someday to be a dancer or a cheerleader, all on an empty stomach. They showed some eerily moving footage of her practicing dance moves and tricks using the railroad tracks in her backyard as a makeshift balance beam. I complain we have to many toys and the boys complain they have too few.
I am not trying to bring you down with this, it's actually an attempt to lift you up, to lift us all up. I love Thanksgiving, not because of the turkey or the family, the memories or traditions, the pies or the Brussel sprouts. Although I love all those things, I love even more the face slap that is the weight and responsibility we all have to give thanks, not just today but, on a daily basis.
I was talking to Zack the other day about today and he said this. "The best part about Thanksgiving is that it reminds you what to do."
Yeah... it sure should.