My adult daughter calls this week’s big holiday “Thankstaking.” Anyone who will be sitting down to a big dinner of plenty in the expansive former home of the Ohlone people will be hard-pressed to argue with her. However the holiday has evolved, it hearkens back to a great taking.
Be that as it may, I think those of us who enjoy the holiday both for what it represents (a time of giving thanks) and for what it often is (a wine-fueled and gluttonous multigenerational gathering that ends with hangovers of various kinds) are forgiven our reverie. There are few days on the calendar that are as free of employment obligations, home fix-it projects and daily errands, and dedicated instead to family and friends. As we head into an uncertain future, that is reason to celebrate. So, let us be thankful.
You want specifics?
▸ A free and fair election: Across the nation, local election officials carried out sacred duties of democracy with very few substantive problems. They performed that marvel despite a loud minority screaming that any result other than the one they favor is fraudulent. Our professional and volunteer election workers are unlikely heroes in the 21st century. Here on the coast, we were proud of competent and impassioned candidates worthy of office. Winners and losers are getting on with it without acting like children.
▸ A challenged environment that continues to inspire: If there is one thing that unites all residents of the San Mateo County coast it is the fact that they live in a natural wonder. Mussel Rock, Devil’s Slide, Pillar Point … there are a dozen sites on the San Mateo County coast that would make residents anywhere else in the country gawk. It’s no surprise that artists and musicians and creative people in various fields are drawn here by the inspiration that surrounds us every day.
▸ The ability to gather again: It’s easy to forget where we were through most of 2020. We didn’t know what we could touch and we were in virtual house arrest. Hospitals were full. Our employment prospects were dire. Schools were closed, airports empty, businesses went bust. There have been nearly 100 million cases of COVID-19 in the country in less than four years and more than a million of our countrymen have died. We may never be fully over the pandemic, but those of us who remain have largely learned to mitigate the risk. And you don’t hear many people denying the science anymore.
This Thanksgiving promises to be brighter than the last few, as more of us are more willing to share our table. That, in and of itself, is something. May you give more than you take, and may you find plenty for which to be thankful.