It should be easy for most of us to be thankful in St. Mary’s County. Just look around.
So as we prepare ourselves for the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s hope that peace and civility will prevail everywhere. Let’s hope that when extended families convene for the old familiar feast, debate won’t rage between red and blue over impeachment or possible past and future election influence. Let’s hope the chatter will be about whether dark meat is more delicious than white meat as the turkey is carved. That’s something worth discussing.
And what would Thanksgiving be without football? While you’re between feedings on Thursday and perhaps enjoying one or all three scheduled NFL contests, take a moment to mark the passing of Fred Cox. Cox, who died last week at 80, played for the Minnesota Vikings for 15 years decades ago as one of the league’s last straight-on place-kickers. But his bigger claim to posterity was as the inventor of the Nerf football, tossed around in living rooms during the holidays and all year long.
Thanksgiving is a legacy of early colonial America, when European settlers thanked God for the harvest that allowed people to survive under difficult conditions. These days, of course, only a dwindling portion of our population here still has lives so closely tied to the harvest. Most of us take comfortable shelter and an adequate food supply for granted every day.
And the rising tide provided by the continued powerful presence of Naval Air Station Patuxent River keeps the economy churning along for many, employing more than 22,000 people in this community.
In a way, we’re all accidents of birth, and ongoing accidents of geography. We could be anywhere else in the world — and plenty of those places have more than enough misery to go around. Gratitude for our peace, safety and security here at home would be in order, in light of another year of more senseless shootings of innocent people across the world.
Indeed, living this mostly charmed St. Mary’s life at these particular coordinates on the planet, at this time in history, is more than just fortunate. It’s a blessing, one that should be duly counted when we give thanks on Thursday for all that has come our way.
Already this season, we’ve been peppered with advertising images of what we could and should have, and what we ought to buy for those we love. Our calendars are getting crammed with lists of social obligations and appointments. It can be overwhelming, and it’s just getting warmed up.
Even Black Friday can’t wait, as many stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day itself, tempting tryptophan-addled shoppers to rise from their dinner tables and wander the aisles in search of bargains they might not be able to score online.
Many people in our community, though, will be required to postpone their feasts to help others in need. We can take comfort in knowing that police and hospital staff will on the job, and volunteer firefighters and rescue workers could be pressed into service at any time if there’s an emergency. And they will answer the call, just as they always do.
Then there are those thoughtful souls who make sure that anyone who wants to come out can enjoy an absolutely free hot Thanksgiving family-style meal and fellowship. All are welcome at three such events on Thursday:
• The Mission in Great Mills will host a meal from noon to 4 p.m. at 21015 Great Mills Road. For more information, or to volunteer, contact Karen at 301-863-7334 or email@example.com.
• The Church of the Ascension’s dinner will be from noon to 3 p.m. at 21641 Great Mills Road in Lexington Park. To find out more, call 301-863-8551.
• Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church off Route 235 in Lexington Park will serve a Thanksgiving feast as well, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the parish hall, following Mass at 10 a.m. Call 301-863-8144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For sure, this holiday season that officially kicks off this week and runs all the way through New Year’s Day can stretch time, money — and sometimes patience — particularly thin. But let’s face it, most of us have plenty for which to be thankful. And we should have little reason not to feel powerfully blessed and grateful, on Thursday and every day.