November 19, 2018
For many years there’s been an ongoing debate in my household about whether spring or fall is the better season. I am not a fan of pollen, so I lean towards fall. Some argue fall is a time of decline. Plus, it signals the onset of winter. For me, it’s a time of reflection, a time for taking stock, and a time for thanksgiving. Plus, I tend to sneeze less.
Last week we celebrated our annual NHCO Thanksgiving Luncheon. Everyone contributes, bringing dishes prepared at home to share around our collective table. All the staples are there: turkey, ham, stuffing, endless side dishes and desserts. Nick, of course, formally sets the table. And then we break bread together, taking time to reflect and give thanks for all the gifts we’ve received (our client relationships chief among them). It’s a wonderful prelude to the official Thanksgiving holiday.
With all the hurricanes and wild fires and random acts of violence on the news feed, this year seems more precarious than most. I am thankful for all the first responders and law enforcement officials who put themselves in harm’s way day in and day out to protect us. I am thankful for the men and women in uniform who have volunteered to prosecute our wars and defend our interests across the globe to help keep us safe here at home. I am thankful for our free enterprise system and the rule of law that enables our country to be the greatest land of opportunity on the planet. The list goes on . . .
Sure, we have problems. And sometimes progress seems illusive. Then I remember that Thanksgiving was not always a national holiday. George Washington made the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789, but that was a one-off event. In subsequent years different states celebrated Thanksgiving at different times, some as early as September, some as late as January, others not at all. Thomas Jefferson famously refused to proclaim the holiday on concerns related to state sponsorship of religion.
Not until the fall of 1863 did the holiday take shape as we know it today. Amid the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to take place on the fourth Thursday of each November. As we all know, the union survived those contentious times and great progress has been made in the years that followed. Much remains to be done but we can all be thankful for the progress that has been made.
Wherever you may be headed this Thanksgiving, we wish you safe travels, meaningful conversations, closer connections with those you love, and of course, a bountiful provision of good food.
As for my household, we will adopt the theory that calories don’t count until January.