Thanksgiving; one of those problematic holidays.
I used to take it on faith. It was sold to me as the celebration of two vastly different peoples, who shared food and companionship. That was nice, and if teachers elided the subsequent history of colonial usurpers and the indigenous people they ruthlessly betrayed, suppressed, force-marched, killed and assimilated, well, that was just unfortunate. Let's not dwell on unpleasantries, eh?
Then I grew up and eventually learned more about it; that it was a harvest festival, not a celebration of fellowship. And I learned more about what happened in North America to the people who first greeted European arrivals. Thanksgiving became a lot more fraught.
But I still celebrated, because of the thanks part of Thanksgiving. It urged me to give thanks for all the good things in my life. That was certainly easier, since I had a lot to be thankful for.
But to whom should I give thanks? God and I have an uneasy relationship, on those days I believe in them, and anyhow, why should I thank an omniscient creator who blesses me, but gives terror, war, starvation and madness to others in the world? Yeah ... we'll leave that big, omniscient, and very possibly sadistic entity out of the celebration.
Since then, I've kept it simple. I thank my families, blood and chosen, for their unstinting support and love. I thank them for letting me love and support them as well. I thank my friends for being there to stimulate my mind, make me laugh, provide me comfort and companionship, and share my enthusiasms.
I thank whatever small and non-omniscient gods surround and watch out for me for whatever luck they've been able to bestow over the years - routing me to Chicago instead of L.A., routing me to Bob, routing me to science fiction and fantasy, thence to fandom, providing me a voice with which to sing, theatricality with which to carry myself, writing skills with which to communicate.
I thank Bob for loving me, and for being his undeniably strange and lovely self, a soul to who I am profoundly grateful for keeping me sane and happy for almost four decades. I thank Andy for being the beautiful boy and fine man he is. I thank my brother Mac for making me proud of my little brother, prouder than he'll ever know. I thank Mum for being herself, and I know we'll see each other again.
I thank all of you, even those of you who don't celebrate a specific holiday called Thanksgiving. May today be rich for you, full of friendship and love. And possibly turkey.
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