November 25, 2003
November 25, 2003 - 10:39 a.m.
Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for reflection and graciousness. Time for families and strangers to come together in gratitude for the bounty that is America. A day for each of us to be reminded that we are extremely lucky human beings - and to tell those closest to us that we appreciate them.
It's more like this: time for the longest grocery lines of the entire year. Time for traffic jams and holiday DUIs. A month of exploding credit card debt and screaming parents in Toys'R'Us stores. Overworked retail employees. Exhausted post office clerks. Massive quantities of unrecycled wrapping paper. Drunken office parties. Guilt. Regret. Suicides.
I refuse to have a traditional set of American holidays again. There's not a single person to whom I'm close who actually needs anything. For office friends, it's going to be cookie dough with instructions for baking with their children, or hand-printed recipe cards. (Remember that I work largely with women.) For friends, handknit hats and scarves. Daddy and Scratcher get handknit, felted slippers. Mom gets a handknit sweater. The babies, more knitted stuff.
The homeless man and wife who live under the overpass near my house have wool hats and scarves coming for warmth. I have four more hats to keep in the car, which will be given out to the homeless men I see every single day driving home. This weekend I'm scouring the house for things to donate to the Sacramento Children's Home. Food. Clothes. Toys. All of my catering equipment, which will help their kitchen. I already have three boxes of clothing for WEAVE.
I'm eating two Thanksgiving meals, one with Scratcher and his friends, one with my folks. My cooking will be done only with local ingredients - nothing that has to be shipped in from Chile, nothing that was picked by Mexican farm laborers living twelve to a shack without hot water. I'm driving out to a small local farm to pick up most of the supply.
I want to spend the next six weeks refuting the idea that the holidays have to be about consumerism and excess. Faith isn't part of my life, but the concept behind Christianity - that you let someone else do the judging and just try to do what's right is very important. I think we could all use a reminder right now. I'm tired of being self-involved; I'm tired of hearing from others about their new $45,000 SUV or the great dinner they had at P.F. Chang's. I'm looking for another kind of story.
I've been writing here for just over six months, and in all that time, it's been rare for me to go on point about politics, religion, agribusiness, corporate ownership...you get the idea. It's finally become clear that part of what's happened is that you, as readers, don't fully know what matters to me. In the coming weeks, I plan to bring you up to date. It's time.
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