Alexander Film Works

Should We Give Thanks… And For What?

In It Bugs Me, Just Because..., no excuses on November 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

  Today, as well as being the last Thursday in the month of November, the beginning of Hanukkah, and the first day this year with snow that stayed on the ground (in the Detroit area), is Thanksgiving.
  In case you weren’t aware, the initial motivation for this day of “celebration” was to share the blessings the local Native Americans gave to the Pilgrims, like a way to provide enough food to survive the winters in Massachusetts Bay Colony that upcoming winter of 1621. The Pilgrims, in turn, gave many things to the indigenous people… an object lesson in the European concept of “property ownership”, a demonstration of what even primitive matchlock muskets could do to the human body, and diseases against which the tribes had less than no natural immunity.
  Being part Odawa, as well as part French Canadian by descent, I don’t have the greatest love and respect for those original colonists. (My wife, on the other hand, is descended from two members of the original company who came on the Mayflower. That’s how it works out, sometimes.) At this remove, there is precious little I can do about the situation, except deplore that it happened, and keep reminding people of the lengths we, as humans, can go to achieve whatever ends we desire, be they for weal or woe.
  Is there a statute of limitations on saying, “I told you so”? Is reminding others of unpleasant truths a duty one must accept, or a choice one can make to carry out or not?
  The older I get, the less certain I am of anything… and the certainties of my younger days are disappearing at a frightening rate. As I learn more and more, I know less and less.
  Given my outlook on things, and the fact that I don’t much care for football (American style), it should not be much of a surprise that we don’t celebrate the holidays much, if at all.
  I haven’t done so for quite a few yearsn. My Uncle George, who was instrumental in the task of raising me and instilling a respect for working people, was the product of a generation that survuved the Great Depression, the Second World War, Korea, and the postwar world that allotted us, the Baby Boomers, the greatest lot of unearned privilege that any generation I can think of ever had. He worked for the Post Office, back when it was still a part of the Department of the Interior, for thirty years, after coming back from the war. Thanksgiving Day was, and still is, the beginning of a period in the Postal Service that bans annual leave time and authorizes forced overtime until after Christmas Day. Basically, from the end of November until the end of December, I only saw him when he came home, ate something, and went to sleep. As soon as he woke up, he would get ready for work, and be gone again, repeating this for the better part of a month. Sundays he would sleep. Our Thanksgiving dinner had to be ready by noon, since he would be going in on the midnight tour the following day.
  This never did give me a celebratory feeling at this time of year… I still don’t have much of one. The other reasons outlined above I learned later; it was this that formed my primary impressions of these end-of-year festivities.
  And don’t get me started on New Year’s Eve, or, as I call it, Amateur Night

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