Happy Conflicted Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of those crossroads in my brain.

One path leads here:

The other is exemplified by my niece, the Fiend, who as a child loved the holiday so much the following week was spent wishing everyone who got near her "HAPPY NANXGIVING!" and asking why we couldn't have it every day.

It seems an appropriate holiday for America, celebrating the right of bigger, stronger, better armed folk to get away with whatever the hell they please, reaping a gluttonous bounty and then making up a self-serving story about it.  It's the time when wealthy famous people who spend the rest of their year ardently avoiding taxes hit the soup kitchens for a photo op demonstrating their filial love for the unfortunates.

 Then, it's also my niece, burning with the uncomplicated ecstasy of family in the midst of bounty, a day off to spend together with nothing more on the agenda than cooking and eating and love.  Whatever its foundation, it's evolved.  As someone with a dire childhood can become a fine (if complicated) adult, Thanksgiving can be its own thing apart from the beautifully embroidered myth draped over all the skeletons.

Avoiding disaster requires acknowledging the skeletons, inviting the shadow to the feast lest it lash out like the witch at Sleeping Beauty's christening.  The bounty isn't just the time with loved ones or the table groaning beneath the feast, the bounty is everything which was taken from someone else to make it possible.

As a nation we love the simple and obvious, we're fond of leaving well enough alone, we mistrust turning over stones and investigating basements.  And then we wonder at the shambling, dragging footsteps on the front porch, the eerie scratching at the door, and crank up the teevee to drown it out.

Me, I'll be thanking the native Americans who we jacked for the land, and the Africans who we enslaved to spruce the joint up, and people being forced to work at big chain stores who spout NEIGHBORHOOD and FAMILY while exploiting their workers, and those homeless people hopefully getting a full meal for once, and my family, and the turkey, and everything else.
It isn't simple, and I'm cool with that.

1 comment:

Lemonsweet said...

Great post Teeb. And not just because you quote the Baba in it. Good writing dude.