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Thanksgiving in California

Thanksgiving here is much like Thanksgiving in a lot of the United States. The leaves are pretty much at peak fall color now, rather than “post-prime” as they are in colder climates and higher altitudes. It was a bright, sunny day. We spent the day with family, pretty much three generations of people. My wife pointed out that I was the oldest person in the room, which actually made me feel pretty good. Getting older is a mark of success in biological organisms. :-)

There was turkey and lots to eat. The gathering place was in the Central Valley at my brother’s and sister-in-law’s house. All of us in the house had much to “be thankful for.” Survival in tough economic times draws people closer together, especially families. Throw in a few other variables, like illnesses, and pretty soon you start to realize just how lucky you are.

Tonight I read a story about the hundreds of volunteers who served Thanksgiving meals to the hungry at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. Volunteers feed the hungry EVERY DAY at Glide, but Thanksgiving brings in thousands of the needy. Today, demand was up by 30%, and the church expected to serve over 5000 meals.

I have written fairly recently about people with very different value systems – some people in the financial community whose careers seem to be a vicious cycle of greed and incompetence. I hope that they had a good Thanksgiving, too, but I cannot help but wonder whether some of the imbalances of their jobs spill over into their personal lives as well. I thought about some of the similar personalities I met in high tech, after a discussion I had with someone last week – so SURE, so CONFIDENT, so WRONG! :-) I thought about how thankful I am that I now only have to interact with such people infrequently. :-) If they knew how other people really feel about them, do you think that they would change even a little bit? Balance, along with other qualities like intelligence, experience, knowledge, and wisdom, are often under-appreciated by those who lack them.

I learned growing up that simple pleasures are the best, and the lesson still holds true. A joyous gathering of family of all ages, with dogs underfoot, good food and companionship, the healthy and the recovering, all made for a happy Thanksgiving, indeed. The most “complex” part of the day was the viewing of Pixar‘s film “Up” in high-definition. In another generation, it might have a board game or cards after dinner, or a shared TV show. The shared activity was the central part; the nature of the activity was secondary.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope that yours was joyous. The celebration this year did not seem as marred by violence as last year’s. Maybe we can all work together to make it a trend.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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