Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving

We tend to forget what Thanksgiving is in celebration of. It's not about the food, although there was food at the first Thanksgiving, and more about giving thanks after a brutal period of time when there was little food and people died from privation, cold, heat, and disease. Many of the plants and seeds they brought with them wouldn't grow in the soil and their stores quickly dwindled. They were unfamiliar with the land, with the food growing all around them, and with the diseases and pests that took them down one by one. If it had not been for the natives, the Pilgrims would have died altogether, or disappeared like they did at Roanoke not many years before. When the second year came, the natives had taught them how to grow and harvest the new crops and how to survive.

That first thanksgiving dinner when the pilgrims thanked the natives and their god for bringing them through the year wasn't lavish by our standards. Game was plentiful and there was fish in the sea, but much of what was harvested had to be prepared and stored for the long winter months, and yet enough of it was left for them to share with the natives who made living in this land possible. It wasn't the food; it was the the chance to celebrate a good harvest and good friends.

Thanksgiving is a time to harvest the crops and celebrate the trials and tribulations and the triumphs of the year. I've a lot to celebrate.

This year I went independent and published a novel in print and ebook form. Sales have been iffy, but it's selling and I'm proud to have written the book, although there are still some problems with formatting and conversions I need to deal with.

I also lost a job that has caused me no end of heartache and frustration, a job I have worked for 6-1/2 years. While it seems like a mark in the negative column, it's really a blessing because I no longer have to be raped and pillaged by that company ever again. It also gave me a chance to find a better job, and that I did 2 weeks later, except that led to problems of its own. I had to wait a month to be paid, so that was 6 weeks without a paycheck and my previous employer made sure I didn't get unemployment. I fought her on that and the results of that fight are not in.

I finally got paid, which was enough to catch up the bills, but not buy the turkey dinner I was dreaming of for Thanksgiving, and I have to work the holiday since hospitals don't close and I don't have enough time saved (I actually get to see how much now) and didn't have 30 days to let them know I'd be taking the holiday. On the up side of that, I get paid time and a half for my time, and that is going to look good come the yule season since that's when I'll savor the fruits of this particular harvest. Pay is always 2 weeks behind the earning. My next check will be a tidy sum and I will be able to do something good with the money, like buy my granddaughter Savannah a birthday gift and that turkey dinner I was hankering for. I'll have a frozen Marie Callender turkey dinner for today, suitable thawed and nuked, but it will be alone at my desk in the chair that makes working a whole new level of ache.

I still have the new job to be thankful for and being back to regular paychecks with a place to view my earned vacation time and the occasional bonus for holidays. I get another benefit this year since Christmas and New Years are both on my days off and I will get paid and be able to enjoy the fruits of my labors and the changes in my life with a little peace, holiday music, and that turkey (or goose or ham) I've been waiting for.

All in all, this has been an interesting year with lots of changes and more changes to come in the new year. There will be tough times and times of joy, but mostly days I will have to get through one way or another. It hasn't been all good this year, but it hasn't been all bad either. I have friends. I have work. I have paychecks. I have lots to be thankful for, and that's what this holiday is all about -- the thanks. I give thanks for it all and for the chance to sit here and write my thanks for all the people who have made my life a little bit more interesting, a little bit tougher, and a whole lot richer.

Happy Thanksgiving.

That is all. Disperse.