thanksgiving is what you make of it

The following is the opinion and analysis of the writer:

In this season of thanks and good wishes that most of us are, or should be feeling, there are always people who make the Grinch look ready for expedited Angel First Class status.

Following a fractious election taking place in a horrendously divided country, people who “love” to comment on my writings hastened to tell me what they are thankful for this year. As one who has tried to maintain even the slightest of civil interactions with people on at least two sides of the yawning political canyons that slash this land, I’m usually up for a modicum of argument. As long as it doesn’t descend into more than, oh, one expletive for every 20 words or so.

One person I called a close friend in years past told me “you Democrats may think you were so smart in mopping up our Red Wave. But when we impeach Joe Biden, I’ll be laughing at how many of you take to drinking or begging us to not repeat January 6, 2021.” OK. I eventually got off the phone with this person by telling them my washer was threatening to make a wave of sorts.

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Another individual who feels Facebook is a place to pretend at length that they not only can write but are a combination of Bernie Sanders and Alexander Hamilton said “one of these days, we’ll get these Republicans but good. They’ll die without their food stamps and I’ll be glad to see them go to hell.” I used the same flooding washer lie to get rid of this person, too.

What I really wanted to tell each of these people was that I’ll be thankful not to talk to either of them until they get quality psychiatric help or decide to decent-up on their own. Since they read my columns, I hope they’ll take this as fair notice.

But I also wanted to tell them that politics, hatred, and settling scores real and imagined aside, most of us really do have a lot of real things to be thankful for most of the time. Not just for the usual sermon’s list of a roof over one’s head, a warm bed, food and clean water, and either a reasonable job or sufficient financial resources. Because of course, far too many people in the world’s wealthiest nation and elsewhere around this planet can’t say as much.

My own thanks this year cover things such as the fact that my mother has so far not visited an emergency room or inpatient hospital bed. And that after more than two years straight in Tucson temperatures in the 50s feel just a little bit chilly. Another friend who disagrees with me on most things political, but shares my fondness for Wisconsin fish fries and cocktail hour Crown Royal whiskey, told me last week he was grateful we can beat the living hell out of each other over politics and maybe convince the other of one or two points before declaring the bar open.

When I consider the stupid or even immoral things people want to be thankful for, I always think of the now adult son of a friend and his childhood fondness for “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” I remember him asking me how I could have Thanksgiving if I couldn’t set up a ping-pong table because I lived in an apartment.

When I told him that even people who live in apartments can cook feasts and have things to be thankful for, he said he wished his parents would just have popcorn and toast outside at a ping-pong table because they wouldn’t have to work like fools to produce a big dinner and listen to the dad’s (you guessed it) drunk uncle tell them they are spoiled communist brats.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. No matter your politics or whether you are having turkey or popcorn and toast for dinner.

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Mary Stanik is a published opinions writer and full-time parental caregiver who moved to the Tucson area from Minnesota in 2020.

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