This Thanksgiving week I'm not going to complain that friends, already retired, are taking a whole week to relax in a mountain cottage. I will be grateful for a couple of days away from the office.
I'm not going to complain about the cold weather that swept in suddenly after the mildest early November in several years. I will be grateful for moments in front of the living room fireplace and for the brisk snap in the dry, chilled air. I'm grateful to be able to run for three miles without being drenched in sweat.
I won't complain about the fallen leaves I must rake (raking on Thanksgiving Day is a family tradition). I will be grateful for the shade those leaves provided and for the mulch they now provide in the expanded natural area where they rest and decay.
I won't complain about the family members who won't be with the rest of the family this year. I will be grateful that they have shared this holiday with us before, and they will have other chances to join us in the future.
I won't complain about the football games on television, no matter who is playing, and I won't disrupt others' enjoyment by fixating on the game or shouting at the teams on TV. I will be grateful for people willing to give up their holidays with family so that they can serve, protect or, yes, entertain others.
I won't complain about the stores that are already decorated for Christmas, as if Thanksgiving, the purest, least commercialized of holidays, didn't exist. I will be grateful for the Thanksgiving in family homes with crowds gathered and kitchens crowded with cooks and helpers, for heartfelt joy at being together, for multiple generations gathered around one table (or two or three).
I won't complain that our gathering will be absent those family members who shaped my memories of Thanksgiving but are now departed. I will be grateful instead for the many Thanksgivings we shared and for the many lessons we learned at their tables and for the nurturing that filled us with more than food and prepared us for this day of gratitude.