Celebrating good fortune

Of all the holidays, I like Thanksgiving the best.

The idea of Thanksgiving is still relatively "pure": enjoy time with your friends and family, indulge in bounteous food, and remind yourself of your blessings. Everyone, no matter their situation, can think of something they are grateful for.

For myself, I live in a warm and beautiful place where nearly every day begins with a spectacular light show put on by Mother Nature. I have only to look out in any direction to be reminded that life is good. For a farm kid from Minnesota, I've done well in life, having achieved the financial wherewithal to live comfortably and enjoy my "golden years." As I've passed through life I've met an astounding assortment of people who have enriched my life and helped me appreciate how many different ways there are to experience the world. And most of all, I have wonderful friends that I know I can always count on.

Our other holidays have lost much of their original meaning or been co-opted by commercial interests. Christmas for most people is just an excuse — for some an obligation — to go shopping, and for retail businesses it has become the make-or-break time of the year. Others, like Labor Day and Memorial Day, largely mean a day off from work. Mothers Day and Valentines Day are promotional gimmicks of the flower, candy, and greeting card industries. Fathers Day, the poor cousin to Mothers Day, isn't much of anything, marginally increased necktie sales notwithstanding. New Years Eve is an excuse for many people to get drunk and kiss perfect strangers, and New Years Day itself, which could be a time of renewal and new beginnings, is usually devoted to recovery from New Years Eve. Halloween is now more a chance for grown-ups to play dress-up than a chance for children to play pranks and collect treats. One of the biggest holidays is actually not a holiday at all, Superbowl Sunday. And don't even get me started on generic observances like Presidents Day.

Happy Thanksgiving!