I always chuckle to myself when folks call this Turkey Day
I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve always been a ham kind of girl.
I always wonder when folks call this Thanksgiving Day
who exactly I’m supposed to be thankful towards
For Jesus is someone else’s Lord and Savior, and I don’t
praise Allah either. My thanks are jokes to Life’s daily
demigods and I’d like something a bit more substantive
than thanking my lucky stars. The Universe just sounds like a
cop-out for people who don’t like the sound of God.
So who am I thanking?
My mother, for bringing me into this world and damn near
breaking her back every day to give me every inch of life she can spare?
The ex-stepfather I abhor, because if he hadn’t walked into my mom’s life
mine would have been displaced, my friends and family misplaced, a family
of two and two alone gone back to Georgia, my mom’s first home?
Georgia, where my family has lived since before we had a choice.
Should I thank my too-many-greats-to-count grandmother for surviving the passage
in the dank disease-infested bottom of that ship? Or my grandfather
of the same generation for liking what he saw up on the auction block
enough to sneak away from his wife in the middle of the night and
sell his daughter away when she was born with blonde hair and blue eyes?
Blonde hair and blue eyes, like some of my closest friends,
so should I thank the late Dr. King for taking the glory from everyone who’d
dreamt before him? Chris Hall, my high school’s English Department Supervisor
for making me realize the dreams I’d dreamt weren’t lofty enough, that I was calling
a sledding hill a mountain when I had the tools to tackle Everest? Chris Burch,
my first sweetheart, for teaching me that sometimes it’s better when dreams don’t come true?
The admissions committee member that tossed me into the right pile, for reminding me that
sometimes, they do? Nene, for seeing what I was repressing and getting me involved?
India.Arie for reminding me to Slow Down and appreciate the Little Things, like
whoever instituted a monthly Soul Food Night at the Princeton Quadrangle Club?
Under chaos theory, tabula rasa, and the idea of alternate realities, should I thank everyone
with whom I have ever crossed paths, for without them I might not be me? All six billion, eight-
hundred-eighty-four-million, thirty-seven thousand, eight-hundred-forty-six people on the planet,
because the world might somehow be different without one of them? Should I just thank myself,
or include things I simultaneously love and hate, like society and affirmative action, like my father?
The power went out as we were warming the candied yams. I used my laptop as a flashlight during the
candles-and-matches-hunt, and as we joined hands to bless our candlelit Thanksgiving dinner, I realized
exactly how many people and things and bittersweet circumstances I have to be thankful for. They each
have their own masters, Gods, and engineers, and so today I will simply thank the ties that bind us all.