It should be easy for most of us to be thankful in Charles 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.
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 Charles 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 — and the Waldorf mall — 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 be 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.
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 one such event on Thursday: End Hunger in Charles County presents the Charles County Thanksgiving Feast at Middleton Hall in Waldorf starting at noon. The hall is located at 4045 Renner Road.
The dinner will include jazz music, a dessert table and entertainment for the kids. Reservations are highly recommended — call Aileen at 240-346-4838 — and above all, it is 100% free to anyone.
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.