Monday, November 24, 2014

Celebrating My Thanksgiving Day This Year

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, November 24, 2014.

By Bill Gouveia

            This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, that uniquely American holiday where each year we all pretend to remember how thankful we are for the things we will go back to ignoring before Christmas.

            It is my favorite holiday, and not just because it is always on a Thursday, thus providing an extra-long weekend.  Thanksgiving appeals to me because it is a day spent in actual celebration of nothing except a spirit of grateful reflection. 

That spirit is not based upon your religion, your ethnicity, your race, or your geographic location.  It’s merely a day where you can count your blessings, regardless of where you think they may have come from.

            It manages to encompass three of my very favorite things in this world:  Food, football, and family (not necessarily ranked in order of my own personal priority).  And this week, I will thoroughly and happily enjoy all three.

            My family will gather at the home of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law in Norton to relax and shatter our diets.  There will be turkey and mashed potatoes, and we will argue about whether they should have butter on them and how much seasoning should be applied to the various meal components.  The desserts will be fabulous, as my wife and her sister renew their decades-old battle about who makes the better apple pie.

It’s possible the morning may begin with a trip to one of the local Thanksgiving Day high school football games, depending on the weather and how early I drag myself up out of bed.  There will be football on television, and I will be rooting for my fantasy league players to help me make my league playoffs.

But best and most important of all, there will be family.  We will be gathered together in numbers seldom realized anymore, as busy lives and extended family obligations make our times together all that more precious and few.

My two sons and their families will both be there, along with many of their cousins and other family members.  And that means the most important part of any holiday (or any day, for that matter) will also be present – our three beautiful grandchildren.

Our oldest grandchild Will (did I mention his name is William?) is now six years old and in the first grade.  Our amazing granddaughter Avery will be visiting and she is wise far beyond her 2-1/2 years.  And at 15 months baby Sam (we won’t be able to call him that much longer) will be mobile for the first time during a major family holiday.  We are nailing down the furniture.

I have gone through most of the stages of family Thanksgivings now.  I remember the excitement as a child, waiting to see all the relatives I rarely got to visit.  The smell of my mother’s cooking, going to Mansfield-Foxboro football games with my grandfather, and then being bored as the old people sat around having beverages and talking about family stuff for the umpteenth time.

Then there was the second stage, bringing my own children to such celebrations.  The hassle of getting them out of the house, keeping an eye on them, and trying to get them home at a decent hour.  We always did two dinners every holiday, one with each family, and continually threatened to end that practice (though thankfully we never did).

And now there is the third stage – where we ARE the old people sitting around telling the same old stories and laughing just as hard as we did years ago.  Now we chase the grandkids around, give them sweets behind their parent’s backs, and marvel in the pure love and joy they manage to provide and inspire in us. 

Many of the people who were integral parts of our holidays and lives for so long are now gone.  It is somewhat frightening and yet at the same time reassuring to know our kids and their kids will look back at us someday the same way we recall our parents and grandparents now.  At least, we hope they will.

So count the Gouveia family grateful this year.  And to my good readers, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and all the food, football and family you can handle.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime area town official.  He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reading this column the end of March 2015...still brought a tear to my eye.