Thanksgiving is one of those days on which gratitude is front and center — even though marking (and mocking) it with such terms as “Friendsgiving” and “Black Friday” is commercially trendy.
Still, as the turkey’s roasting — or frying, if that’s your thing — and the family’s trying to keep young ones and grandfolks occupied with that old invention called television, there are behind-the-scenes fixins and people to be grateful for.
We should be grateful for the people who work on Thanksgiving. You know, those unseen, unsung workers who make our Thanksgiving Day possible and safe.
We should be grateful for our first responders who man the police, fire and ambulance crews so that if, God forbid, you called 911, someone was there to respond. Too often, we neglect to say “Thank you” to the men and women who answer 911 calls.
We should be grateful, as well, for another group of unsung professionals: The receptionists at hospitals, clinics and urgent centers who help get patients into the correct health care silo, including those who might have scalded themselves while pouring hot water off a pot of sweet potatoes they boiled for candied yams. (Raising my hand.)
And, speaking of food, there’s the Patti LaBelle-Walmart connection. Oh, those Patti Pies. The giant retailer began carrying the iconic songstress’ sweet potato pies exclusively several years ago, and local D.C. shoppers made multiple purchases so they could shorten their to-do list. (Raising my hand, again.)
Who made it possible? Well, be thankful for long-distance truckers, warehouse workers, grocers, cashiers, and stocking and inventory workers at truck stops and other go-to venues we hit for last-minute purchases — including those stops on the road to grandma’s house.
We most certainly should be thankful for the farmers, unseen American heroes who work day in and day out, 365 to provide the bounties that fill our bellies and satisfy our savory taste buds and sweet tooth. (Man does not live on avocados alone.)
We should be grateful, too, for the meteorologists who, backed by an army of satellite managers, radar specialists and computer techs, give us a head’s-up on the weather, and what to expect and anticipate on the roads and at the airports. (And be thankful they don’t subscribe to the climate change ideology, preferring instead to take their play-calling from old reliable Mother Nature.)
Of course, Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day for millions upon millions of Americans without Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and football.
We should be grateful that the latter, which Wikipedia dubs “American football,” as if there’s any other. This sport, our sport, marks its 100th NFL anniversary this season, and the triple play on Thanksgiving allows the generations gathered to clasp their hands and bow their heads to give thanks — though not worry whether the British are coming or the president will be impeached. (May the Saints go marching in, in Atlanta.)
We should be grateful as well that, thanks to the weathercasters and balloon-class techs, the Macy’s parade went off without a hitch. When meteorologists predicted winds of upwards of 60 mph in the mid-Atlantic region, parade and public safety planners grew a bit concerned that the huge balloons might pop loose.
Snoopy and Woodstock, Chase from “Paw Patrol” and other inflated cartoon characters stayed afloat.
A special thanks is also due the parade planners for showcasing the marching band of Morgan State University. It was the first time that a band from a historically black college or university was so honored.
And now to our armed forces. Well, we can never offer them enough thanks. They are always at the ready on the ground, in the air and on the water, protecting us from what is and what could be lurking.
We should always be grateful for America’s formidable military.
We should always be grateful for those in uniform and in civilian positions.
As a postscript, allow this: There is much to be grateful for — some of it obvious, some not so much.
The bottom line is just do it.
That’s what Thanksgiving really and truly is about.
⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]