Thanksgiving, 2004

So there’s the beautiful table my wonderful wife set last night. You can click on either of the thumbnails for a larger image.

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. It’s got everything—family, friends, food, drink, patriotism, religion. For me you can sum it up in one word: wisdom.

There’s the wisdom of family. The table is set with the tablecloth my wife’s mother gave her. A little Bavarian china bowl that my father-in-law and his brother found in their mother’s garage when they were going through her stuff after she died. When they saw it they both teared up—they both remembered that this bowl had only come out on holidays and had always been used for mashed potatoes. We serve our mashed potatoes from it on holidays now.

There’s the wisdom of patriotism. The holiday commemorates events from the lives of some of the earliest Americans of European descent but it also commemorates the kindness of the Americans who were here before them. Our table is set with glass made more than 140 years ago by not-too-terribly-distant descendants of those early European Americans. They are my ancestors now, too.

There’s the wisdom of religion. I don’t mean the individual specific practices of this religion or that religion. I would call that “sect”. For me religion is wisdom, the wisdom accumulated over hundreds and thousands of years and my inheritance from my spiritual ancestors of long, long ago. I evoke that wisdom in the prayers that I say before my meal. As Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you’, that would suffice”.

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