I briefly pondered the idea of doing a heartfelt, introspective, profound piece on the history and meaning of Thanksgiving and all the blessings in my life. However, at the moment I am just not feeling the inclination to dive that deep. Anyone who knows me or has read The Manofesto should know that I am not the type of person who takes things for granted. My faith journey has not always been smooth, but I feel like I have drawn closer to God in the last couple of years and continue to experience growth in that aspect of my life. At the same time, if I am being honest, there are things that still drag me down. My Dad has always said that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely, and I feel like I cross the threshold into loneliness all too often these days. I am human, so I do sometimes envy the perceived happiness and success of others. For some reason this has been a bigger issue in 2010 than I can ever remember. I try to get past it, and I understand that there is some reason, some lesson that I am supposed to be learning. At any rate, the following list may seem a bit superficial on some level, and I am approaching it from a fun & lighthearted perspective, but these are things that I truly am thankful that I have in my life. So, as I wish everyone out there in cyberspace a Happy Thanksgiving, please enjoy…..
from the home office in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas…..
The Superfluous 7 Things I Am Thankful For:
And I don’t just mean the football that is played on Thanksgiving. After all, those games always include the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, and who in their right mind would consider that a blessing?? No, I am talking about the entirety of the college and NFL football seasons. I am specifically a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Marshall Thundering Herd, and West Virginia Mountaineers, but I can watch just about any football game. Whereas baseball is a little too slow paced & plodding and the season far too long, and basketball only gets really interesting when the post-season draws near, football is engaging from the pre-game show until the final zero ticks off the clock and the season is the perfect length. And I find that with baseball I am not the least bit interested unless my Pittsburgh Pirates are playing while I have never really had a favorite NBA team, yet I don’t care who is playing football because I will watch no matter what. I am thankful though that the aforementioned Cowboys and Lions do not play each other on Thanksgiving because that may be a vortex of ineptitude that I could not let myself get sucked into.
Yes, I said it…I am thankful for Facebook. Am I a bit too addicted?? Probably. Could I be spending my time more wisely?? I suppose. But Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with literally hundreds of people from my past and enables me to easily stay in touch with good friends from various far away locales. It is harmless fun, and at the very least probably a better way to be entertained than watching most of the drivel on television these days.
5 The Manofesto
I don’t want to be self-serving, but I suppose I will for a moment. I am not getting paid to write this blog, and I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea how to make money on it anyway. I suppose one would need to attract advertisers of some sort, and for that to happen there would have to be a fairly sizeable and consistent readership. Maybe one day all that will happen. However, I am not really all that concerned about it at this point in time. I began The Manofesto about a year & a half ago because I felt like I had some things to say and have always been pretty confident in my writing skills. Maybe if I had pursued that career path and been given better guidance by educators and others in my environment my circumstances would be much different today. As it stands though I enjoy writing this stuff more than anyone will ever know. I have no idea how many people come here on a regular basis (I know of one…thanks Don 🙂 ), nor do I know how many people may have read one or two things here & there. Nearly all the comments I receive are spam. Maybe I am writing all this for a smaller audience than you’ll see at a Denny’s at 3am on a Tuesday, and maybe someday that might change. But for now The Manofesto is extremely therapeutic and entertaining for me and I am so very glad for the continuing journey.
My sister & I had a dog when we were just small tikes. He was a mutt named Rags who eventually went nuts and had to be taken away by the dog catcher. However, in essence he was my father’s dog and I think Dad considered him more of a burden than a pet. As I got older we could not have a dog in the house because of my mother’s health. Then for years I lived in places that didn’t allow pets. One day a few years ago the rules in my building changed and we were allowed to have pets as long as they do not exceed a certain size, which is fine with me because I would not want a huge dog that one day may turn against me and smite me in my sleep. Neither would I want a girlie dog, the kind you see airheads like Paris Hilton carrying in their purse. At some point I fixated on pugs because they are small but tough, manly dogs. I got my chance to get one in the summer of 2008 and I named him Rocco. He & I have had our moments. I made a lot of mistakes in training him mostly because I had no clue what I was doing. But Rocco is absolutely the sweetest, most adorable puppy in the universe. He does not bite, just licks a lot. He licks everything. He loves to eat and sleep, and he loves to snuggle with his Daddy. I suppose Caesar Milan would say that I spoil Rocco and that I assign human, childlike qualities to him instead of maintaining a master/dog relationship. So be it. I don’t have a wife or girlfriend, have no children, and my friends mostly live far away. If that means I treat my dog as a substitute to fill the emptiness in other areas of my life then that is just fine by me.
My good friend The Owl posted a rather wistful, nostalgic status update on his Facebook on Thanksgiving eve. It was an ode to his mother and childhood Thanksgivings of yesteryear. I was reminded of my own mother, who we lost 10 years ago. I fondly recall the Thanksgivings of my own youth. My maternal Grandma lived not too far away but she didn’t drive, so someone always went to fetch her on the day before Thanksgiving. She and Mom would spend the evening getting food prepped, and then would get the turkey in the oven sometime in the wee hours of the late night. By the time I woke up around 7 or 8-ish (probably a bit later in my teen years) the aromas that filled our home were heavenly. I always enjoyed watching the Macy’s Parade, and still do, although now I tend to lean toward mocking the overall cheesiness and kitsch. Football games would come on in the early afternoon, and at some point my paternal grandparents, who lived about a mile up the road, would arrive. By mid-afternoon dinner was ready and it was always awesome. We never had cranberry sauce for some reason, but we had about everything else…turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn, green beans, rolls. Yum. My Mom always made pumpkin pie, and my Grandma Mano always made chocolate cream pie. After dinner we’d all sit in the living room and shoot the breeze, just enjoying each others’ company. As a child I would mostly just sit there and listen as the adults talked about a variety of things. Families have a certain…rhythm…whenever they talk amongst themselves. A stranger coming into the midst of the conversation probably wouldn’t give a rat’s petoot about the topics being tossed about to & fro, but if you’re in the inner circle you get it. Even kids, who probably don’t understand most of what is being said, have a comfort level with the group. It’s like a cold winter night that all the sudden becomes cozy once one slips under the warmth of a soft blanket. I miss that warmth & comfort, but I will always have the memories. There is a fine line that one must be careful not to cross. Living in the past can be crippling. But to embrace memories of a wondrous time that cannot ever be replicated is okay, and I am thankful that I have those memories to reflect upon.
I have spoken elsewhere here at The Manofesto about my “skilled” nursing facility experience. In 2006, at the age of 33, I was a patient at one of those places for six months. During those 6 months I lost 30 pounds. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I have always been overweight and it was probably a good thing for me to lose those pounds. However, I would not recommend the nursing home weight loss program. Obviously any kind of institutional food is usually not good, but honestly…I can eat hospital food. It is atleast average. But the nursing home food was…well…indescribably bad. I would not have fed that stuff to my worst enemy. Thank God my Dad brought me in food…a Wendy’s cheeseburger, leftovers from his supper, maybe a pizza sometimes…every night and my cousin Robert usually brought me something almost daily. Even then I STILL lost weight. And I wasn’t even exercising. I was literally laying in bed for months. My point is, I learned from that experience to appreciate food. I gained all that weight back and more, and I am currently in the process of trying to lose it, but this time it is my choice. I just know I would feel healthier and better about myself if I shed some pounds. But I will not deny myself completely. I will not starve. I appreciate a good meal (appropriate on Thanksgiving) and sympathize with those who are truly hungry. We live in the greatest, wealthiest nation on Earth. No one in America should ever experience hunger. I am not naïve though…I know it occurs, which is why I am thankful that I always have access to food and usually enjoy whatever I eat.
The aforementioned “skilled” nursing facility experience encompassed only part of what I refer to as my Unfortunate Incarceration. After I was released from that godforsaken hellhole I was still not healed up, which meant that I spent the next year at home before the medical establishment FINALLY decided I needed surgery, which then took several more months by the time one factors in the hospital stay and post-op healing. All told my Unfortunate Incarceration stole away 2 years of my life. During that time I was not able to do a whole slew of things that most take for granted…grocery shopping, going to the movies, attending church, driving. My life is not exactly glamorous, which is why I self-deprecatingly refer to myself as Mr. Excitement. But I now appreciate the freedom to do those simple things. As a child much of my focus as well as that of my parents was for me to be as self sufficient and independent as possible. I think I did a pretty good job of achieving that goal through most of my adulthood, but for two years I lost that freedom. Having it back has meant the world to me and it is the thing for which I am most thankful.
- What Are You Thankful For This Thanksgiving? (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- What Are You Thankful For? (stacey-rose.com)
- So Much to be Thankful For… (naturemoms.com)
- Things to Be Thankful For: Two- Remembering the Day When Stores Closed Thanksgiving (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- “Happy Thanksgiving” and related posts (anythinghollywood.com)
- Thankful for All of You (faithallen.wordpress.com)
- Thanksgiving 2010: What Are You Thankful For In Impact? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Thanksgiving Day: Why I’m Thankful For My Divorce (huffingtonpost.com)
- Happy Thanksgiving (thereinventshop.com)
- Happy Thanksgiving! (rpgblog2.com)