COMMENTARY: Thanksgiving and Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Ever since my dad passed away, it’s been my holiday. I have nine brothers and sisters so we rent a tent for the backyard so we can feed our clan turkey, creamed corn, and my special onion-laced mashed potatoes.

Making the potatoes is a big deal for me. I use an old, beat up, pink-handled, potato masher that was my mom’s. She was in her early forties when she died and my little ritual brings her back to me. It’s a happy sad feeling when I think about how proud she and my dad would be if they could see the incredible brood they began. I wish my kids could experience the loving hugs and wet kisses that I grew up with.

In my family, Thanksgiving focuses primarily onthe children. The younger ones all perform skits or songs or play instruments and when it’s time for each family to say what they are thankful about, most recount new milestones and achievements of their kids or grandkids.

Best of all, there are no gifts. At least not the kind we buy in stores and wrap with ribbons. We express pride and appreciation, love and hope for the future. These are the gifts we bestow on our children.

It isn’t easy in this commercialized world to escape the pressure to add more and more things to our lives. And it’s hard to resist the temptation to buy hugs and squeals from our children with the latest toy or gadget. That’s why I love Thanksgiving. It gives us the chance to pause to savor and share the intangible things in our lives, the things that we could never buy. Happy Thanksgiving!

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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