By | December 15, 2021
“A picture of a turkey, not me (Ray) AS a turkey.” My instructions for this image from one Ray Harris – Aleah

Thanksgiving week has passed and Thursday, November 25th was Turkey Day for most Americans. However, my family did not celebrate in our traditional manner. My grandson Chet Holmgren, a 7’1″ basketball player, and his Gonzaga Team were playing two games in Las Vegas, Nevada with half of the family attending. Knowing this was scheduled, our family and about 75 guests sat down and shared a Turkey (and assorted wonderful, tasty items that traditionally accompany the bird) on Friday, August 20th – this year August 20th was our Thanksgiving!

During the dinner and many times afterwards, I’ve thought about Thanksgiving – what is it and what should it be? Is it a day to sit around a gorgeous turkey followed by a couple of hours gorging on the bird and then watching a few football games? Or does it signify the beginning of the holiday/shopping season? Thanksgiving should not be either of these – Thanksgiving should be with us all year, every day. It is an inner feeling that should nourish us as much as our daily meals. Thanksgiving day should only be about an opportunity to express these feelings openly – to our friends and family.

Most of us should be full of thanks – for a year of plenty – enough good food, reasonably good health for family and friends and a year that has many more pleasant and positive experiences than ones to be forgotten.

There are many that are less fortunate. We need to help them – when and where and if we can – they will be thankful and we will too – that we are able to give some of our overflowing, to others not so lucky.

I am 92 years old and permanently in an electric wheelchair (my Lamborghini), the recipient of twelve pills daily and on a low-sodium and no sugar diet. And I have never been more thankful because, I am the patriarch of a wonderful family – a basketball player, a teacher, a Republican, a couple of inveterate travelers etc., and bunches of great friends. I plan to live a long time – maybe forever! I have written my own self-deprecating obituary – but since it may never be needed, I’ve destroyed it and am now embarking on “My Life’s Journey – so far.”

So what else is on my Thankful List?

  • I love my city – Minneapolis.
    • with all of it’s lakes – a couple of which were created by my father’s dredging company.
    • with all of it’s parks – my father was on the Park Board and worked with Theodore Wirth to create the Grand Rounds
    • with it’s ever changing weather – better than hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, and floods. I love the snow and the rain but leave the singing and dancing to Gene Kelly
  • Dogs have been my special joy. I’ve had sixteen of them sharing my food and bed. I gave them the Loring Park Off-Leash Dog Park as a tiny act of gratitude. May they forever romp and enjoy!
  • I’ve “made lemonade out of lemons” even though sugar is now replaced by Splenda (tastes almost as good).
  • Now that walking is replaced by riding in my Lamborghini, I am thankful that I will never again be required to buy replacement soles and heels for my shoes. Little things are important.
  • Thanksgiving is a special day for me. I have set a record never to be equaled. For 61 consecutive years, I carved the turkey at the beginning of our Thanksgiving dinner. Oh what memories of family and friends sharing the bird!

Yes, Thanksgiving is much more than just a day to eat or sleep or shop; rather to reflect, to appreciate what we have, to treasure family and friends, and to remember hard times and good ones – and to dedicate part of ourselves to helping those who have less to be thankful for.