A Grin at the End: Secret sauce – Being thankful for what we all have to offer

November 2022 Posted in Opinion / Columnists


Carl Sampson

I’m not a fan of most holidays.

I know what you’re thinking – this guy’s crazy. Who wouldn’t appreciate time off work to spend with loved ones?

But hear me out. By and large, holidays are stress-inducing budget busters, and the reasons behind them often get lost in clouds of fireworks and barbecue smoke. To add to the “fun,” even if you do get a day off, you still have to do the same
amount of work in less time. Enjoy.

And if you say anything about holidays and what a pain in the neck they are, you’re labeled a party-pooper. I should have that tattooed on my forehead.

Having gotten that off my chest, there is one holiday I like – Thanksgiving. Yes, it has its stresses – especially if a boatload of people shows up at the last minute or expects to be waited on. That can be a problem. But by the time the pumpkin pie hits the plates, everyone has pretty much settled in for an afternoon of chit-chat, board games or football.

What could be better?

Thanksgiving is rooted in a simple idea. It’s to get together and share the bounty. Historians now say most of what we were taught about the origins of Thanksgiving was rooted in myth, and that’s fine with me. I just like the concept of sitting down to a meal with friends and family. Whether the Pilgrims and Indians did it centuries ago isn’t something I worry about.  

These days, most people don’t grow their food or hunt, but they do work hard to pay the rent or the mortgage and the other bills, put food on the table and raise a family.

That in itself is worth celebrating.

Togetherness is another benefit of Thanksgiving. Too many folks seem to go out of their way to draw lines. Politics, religion, ethnicity, even their affinity for sports teams is what identifies them. What they forget is that, as Americans, each of us is a full meal deal. We may have certain political and religious beliefs, but each of us is more than the sum of them.

In school we were told that the U.S. was a great melting pot, that we all have a place at the table. That concept is no longer in style, but I still think that all of us are the ingredients for the secret sauce that makes our nation exceptional.

If you don’t believe it, get out and walk around and talk with people. In short order, you will be convinced this is a good and great place to live.

We are part of something bigger. Whether we’re part of a neighborhood, or a city or town. Whether we are Democrats, Republicans, Independents or Libertarians and whether we are Christians, or Muslims or atheists, we all have something to offer – ourselves.

We need each other. We need that diversity, but we also need to acknowledge and embrace the fact that we are all in this together. 

Those who insist on standing on their side of a line are missing out, but so are we all. To understand each other and to work together are qualities that make us better people.

That is something for which we all can be thankful.

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in Stayton.

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