With the past two years we have had, it is easy to see what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving. So, I decided, since you already know how lucky we are just to be here, I looked up Thanksgiving in a book called “The World Book Encyclopedia.” (Yes, they still publish today.) Thanksgiving in the United States is a federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. People spend time giving thanks, prayers, feasting, spending time with family at religious services and watching football and parades, World Book said. I needed more, so I went to Google. Traditional foods at the first dinner were presented to the Pilgrims by indigenous people. They gave us turkey, potatoes, white and sweet, stuffing, squash, corn, green beans, cranberries and pumpkin pie.

In 1621, after a three-day celebration, with no football to watch, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe cleaned up the leftovers and went home. The new immigrants spent the first Christmas thinking how they could un-invite some of the louder Pilgrim relatives who complained about the deer meat, the quality of cranberries and how to manage the lobster problem. Too many lobsters, not enough butter. This first Thanksgiving was not really the picture we saw in our “Weekly Readers,” but that is another story.

I also looked up “gratitude” to see how that word is part of our Thanksgiving. “The quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Gratitude comes from the Latin, gratus meaning “pleasing, a positive response showing a recipient kindness, gifts, and help.” I read there might be a turkey shortage. People can be frantic at this time of year. Everyone wants a perfect dinner. It is a fantasy; something will go awry, something will not be perfect because, whomever you believe in, only God is perfect. Once in 1989, I worked for days to cook the family’s favorite food, decorate the tables, make sure everyone had a seat, small, large and, in our family, extra-large. The Thursday of the feast, our Grandma Irene went to the hospital at Anna Kaseman. The food was put in the refrigerator and all 31 of us had dinner at the hospital. It must have worked—Grandma Irene lived to be 100 and passed in 1996. Slow down and don’t worry. There is always McDonalds!

Bill flew for 33 years and some Thanksgivings, he went to the base and served A.F. personnel a Thanksgiving lunch. He wore an apron and everything. The idea with this celebration was to serve them a full meal. The Air National Guard has one of the best kitchens in the Air Force. They were called the “Enchilada Air Force,” because wherever they were sent, they took chile with them. The Unit never missed out on red and green chile. The call sign for the F-16s was “Taco.” The food was excellent.

Not so lucky for one of our friends. He recently cooked the turkey with the paper wrapped innards inside the bird cavity where you should or could put stuffing. It did not hurt the meal at all and, while embarrassed, the cook just tossed the innards to the dogs and passed the turkey. Stop worrying and enjoy the day with family, and friends. In the future you will laugh!

So, what are we grateful for this year? Easy, we are still here to overeat, play Trivial Pursuit, and watch football. Let us give thanks to God to express our gratitude, and work again at serving others. In “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” no one should go hungry.

And after this week’s narrow escape, I am so grateful, dear Lord, that all the workers and customers got out of the Walmart fire. We are thankful and grateful, from this mouse to you and your mice. Leaving out a piece of cheese might be nice. Roaring mouse out.