I was just 14 years old when this aired on Saturday Night Live, but I have never forgotten it. It reminds me, especially having flown just two weeks ago, of a much simpler time when people eagerly waited for their friends and family at the gate where people came up the jetway.
Our lives are so complex now with 24 hour news, tiny computers that are also phones, cameras, telegraph equipment (think txt mssg), video cameras, and shopping centers (Ebay), plus laptop computers, and cars that respond to our voices. In 1975 sales of the microwave exceeded gas ranges for the first time. Children don't know that pancakes start with eggs, flour, and buttermilk in liquid form, or that French toast didn't originate as French toast sticks.
Tomorrow families across our country, and those serving our country here and in every corner of the Earth, will come together to share a meal and be thankful. Thanksgiving isn't about presents, shiny ribbon, or battery operated toys. It is meant to give all of us a day to pause and reflect.
Some of us will not set as many places at the table as last year, but hopefully we will feel the warmth and love of those who aren't with us. Others may be painfully aware of having much less in their checkbooks than they did last year, and dread the constant onslaught of "buy this" that has already begun without mercy. Whether spoken or not, some of us will know that while all the seats are filled at the table, next year they may not be.
I hope that tomorrow each of us will find a reason to smile at some point during the day. Some smiles may come from the deep satisfaction of seeing a newborn nestled in the crook of a great-grandparent's arm. Children will smile when they think no one has seen them pinching a taste of melted marshmallow from the sweet potatoes. A young cook will smile with relief that the meal is more than just edible, it is actually good.
I don't have a cooking assignment tomorrow (mine is for Friday night's meal with 22 people). Instead, tomorrow I will cover two large tables with heavy brown paper. Then I will put out brand new crayons (a total of 96) within easy reach of each chair. I know my family well enough to be sure that just about everyone, including the great grandparents, will at the least play tic-tac-toe with one of the younger children. Linen tablecloths and ironed napkins just don't feel right this year.
A year ago on the day before Thanksgiving, I had a follow up mammogram because something didn't look right. Last week I was told there is no indication that the early stage cancer I had removed from my left breast in late December has returned. So simple is a good fit for me this year: a simple thankfulness that I am well, and that the people I know and love are well. And that is reason enough to smile. And to be thankful.