The Lighter Side
The holiday formerly known as Thanksgiving
By Kerry Tomasi
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Nov 27, 2008, 00:24

I�ve been thinking about what the Thanksgiving holiday has come to represent for many families.

Sure, we�re all grateful for the smallpox and hepatitis plagues that wiped out the �Indians� so we could take over their farms and become the beacon that we are today, but I�m referring more to the actual working aspect of the holiday.

At Christmas, there are gifts and caroling and illumination; Halloween has costumes and pumpkin carving; 4th of July means fireworks and barbecue; and on Groundhog Day there�s the midnight trek into the woods to see who can climb the farthest up a tall tree to yodel.

These are traditions ingrained into us all, and synonymous with each holiday.

And Thanksgiving?

Well, it has come to mean primarily one thing. Everyone is obliged, on this one day once a year, to sit down at a table with friends and family to eat.

For many, if not most, this may be the only time this customary relic from our distant past is observed, which is why it often seems awkward and unfamiliar to us.

First you have to clear all that stuff off the �dining room� table, then find enough chairs, and some matching plates and forks, and that table leaf buried somewhere in the closet, and then -- after all the preparations are done -- you sit down at the table and eat.

And that�s all you do. There�s nothing else for you to do. You sit, and while you eat, you gaze at the person across from you, or maybe diagonally, and engage in another customary and often awkward remnant from our past -- conversation (although, depending on the circumstances, and whether or not wine has been served, and for how long, some might refer to it as chitchat or banter).

And when it�s all over, when you can�t eat anymore and you�re just plain talked out, you revert to the conventional and take up a position in front of the TV to watch football or a movie, and maybe nap.

For millions of people, this is Thanksgiving.

So I�m thinking we could start calling it something more apropos to the function.

How does �Happy Sit-At-A-Table-To-Eat Day!� sound?

As in . . .

�What are you going to do this �Sit-At-A-Table-To-Eat Day�?�

�I don�t know, we�ll probably go over to Grandma�s house and sit at a table to eat.�

See how well that works? It�s perfectly descriptive.

Now if this catches on, it doesn�t mean you have to lose the Thanksgiving part of it.

By all means, grab a seat, give thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon you and yours, and then eat.

So here�s wishing all of you a happy and fulfilling Sit-At-A-Table-To-Eat Day!

And may you be blessed to be seated across from, or diagonally to, an interesting conversationalist.

Or else nearest the wine.

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