What we Americans often forget is that we are sitting on top of the world. People watch American movies and wonder whether there really are magical places where the fireplace is going and the football is on in the background and a family is gathered around a magnificent table full of food.
Well, there are such places. And we are about to visit them. You cannot underestimate the value of that. We are living in a fairy tale. I hope to God we are all appreciating it as much as we should.
I know not every family gathering is picturesque, not every table is luscious and not every family relationship is harmonious. But if you're even close, you're better off than 90% of the world. Please, take the time to enjoy it.
I'll tell you one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories. My family has a wonderful, goofy, lovely and uncomfortable ritual every year where we go around the table and everyone says what they are thankful for. We often have someone who is outside of our immediate family with us. Sometimes it's a distant cousin, sometimes it's someone who is visiting the country and sometimes it's just family friends. This particular year my best friend, Kaan, was with us.
He is a quiet guy and finds these type of rituals amusing and painfully awkward at the same time. So, we got halfway around the table with everyone stating the usual suspects that they are thankful - family, friends, health, yada, yada, yada. Then we get to Kaan and he says ... air conditioning.
"Think about it, how uncomfortable would the summers be if we didn't have air conditioning? I'd have trouble sleeping at night and driving around in those hot cars would be unbearable. Thank God we invented air conditioning."
He nailed it. That's the true spirit of Thanks-giving.