Giving thanks means more this year

Thursday is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. You know, the day when families get together to gorge themselves on enormous quantities of turkey before falling asleep in front of a football game, only to wake up and begin picking at the turkey carcass after the sun has set.

I know that it’s next Thursday not only because it’s one of my favorite holidays, it’s on my calendar and it happens every year, but because my wife’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year, and she’s taken every possible opportunity to remind me that she wants candles in the turkey. Sorry dear, I couldn’t resist the chance to rat you out.

I’m excited about that, but I’m also looking forward to Thanksgiving a little more than usual this year, because if you believe the media and all the experts on the economy, there isn’t a whole lot to be getting excited about, so maybe giving thanks means more this year than in most other years. It almost certainly will cost more than it has most other years.

So on Thursday when I’m slicing into that mouth-watering turkey with a small amount of slobber trickling down the corner of my mouth, I think the spirit of the holiday will be carrying with it a little more meaning for me than it normally might.

I think it will serve as a reminder for me to pay even closer attention to those things for which I have to be thankful that I may otherwise take for granted.


I’m thankful, for instance, to have a job to get up and go to every day. I’m thankful for the car that gets me there, and I’m especially thankful for the $1.89 gas I pumped into it the other day.

I’m thankful for two kids who, while they are probably as much responsible as anything for the accelerated graying of my hair, still manage to help their mother and me stay young at heart.

I’m thankful for the determination of my wife, who’s still tenaciously engrossed in her quest to reach that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, a master’s degree in speech language pathology, and I’m thankful that she’s likely to have a job waiting for her after she reaches that light and walks across that stage in Mankato for a second time.

I can’t yet begin to imagine how thankful I’m going to be when she finishes and joins the ranks of the full-time employed, but I’m also thankful that we aren’t quite there yet, because that’ll mean we’re all a year and a half older, and the way things are going with my hair I could look like Kenny Rogers by then.

And I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention I’m also thankful for that miserable old mutt that lies around our yard most of each day because his poor old hips are too sore for him to strike out too far beyond the boundaries of the 45-by-150-foot piece of earth he patrols.

He’s a good boy.

I’m thankful to have a home to share with the above-mentioned two and four legged family members that, though I often complain that it’s not big enough, is plenty big to allow us to entertain my wife’s parents and her brother and family this Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful to have the ability physically as well as financially to go out and buy the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin pie, whipped crème, ice cream, wine and whatever I forgot that we’ll prepare that day.


I’m thankful I only eat like this once or twice a year.

Mostly, I’m thankful that I’m going to have all these people and all that food with me under the same roof to help me celebrate all for which I have to be thankful.

Jeff Reinartz grew up in Austin and is a long-time resident. His column appears every Friday.

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