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Give thanks, give back

By Staff | Nov 26, 2008

Once again, it is time to celebrate one of the calendar’s most special holidays — Thanksgiving. And unlike other holidays, where the social core of the festivities seems to be rushing around from one place to another, shopping to excess at a “one day only” retailer’s sale or making sure your time off is filled with non-stop activity, Thanksgiving’s focus tends to be centered around spending a restful day at home with your loved ones.

And, of course, taking part in the traditional holiday feast, just as the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians did hundreds of years ago.

Far too often, though, our thoughts tend to wander away from the origin of the 1621 gathering of strangers. The 53 surviving Pilgrims who made Plymouth, Mass. their home held a feast in celebration of a successful harvest, as was tradition in their native England. They invited 90 Indian men, led by their king Massasoit, to join with them in being thankful for their blessings.

Although the two groups shared the same territory to habitate, at the time they shared little else. That is, until Thanksgiving.

As we prepare the celebrate the holiday on Thursday, perhaps there is no better time to consider what blessings we have in our lives: our family, our friends, our health and well-being, the conveniences of modern day society and living in a beautiful community of kind and generous citizens.

This Thanksgiving, we should also remember those who may not be as fortunate as we are. People who may be unemployed or in dire financial crisis, folks who may be suffering an illness or feeling the pain of the loss of a loved one. Or someone who may be all alone, without anyone to share their sorrow or lend a comforting thought to.

These may be strangers. They may be neighbors. They may even be your friends.

On this holiday, we should certainly do our part to ensure that everybody — rich or poor, sick or healthy — has not only a Thanksgiving meal, but has somebody to share that meal with. And not just as Sanibelians or Americans, but as caring and considerate people. We should reach out to our fellow man and offer not only our homes, but our hearts.

This Thanksgiving, and for that matter the entire holidays season, take the time to contact your family, friends and neighbors. Talk to them and make sure that during this very special time of year, they are cared for and thought of. And if you or they know of someone in need of a meal, or clothing, or whatever shortcoming may be weighing heavy upon their shoulders, do what you can to ease their burden. Even if your gesture may seem to be modest, in their eyes it may be monumental.

And in the end, we will all count our blessings and give thanks.

— Reporter editorial