#ThanksgivingIn5Words

ThanksgivingPicRecently #ThanksgivingIn5Words trended on Twitter. Among the plethora of submissions a few I thought were particularly fun and poignant included:

Family isn’t here, that’s nice
Real men kill their turkey
Have the Cowboys lost yet?
Stuck at the kiddie table.
Coerced family reunion and gluttony.
Loud music drowns out relatives.
So stuffed, must lay down
Instead of Turkey, Pardons Hillary (referring to POTUS)
First world problems over dinner
Vegan cousin won’t shut up
One day off for chickens.
Today turkey lives don’t matter.
Three hours till Wallmart riot
Turkey, family, dysfunction, xanax, vodka

And a few with a more reflective mood:
Getting together with good friends.
THANK YOU to our Military!!!
Be thankful every single day

These are common experiences we can all relate to.

For no reason other than pure curiosity, I enjoy researching my family history from time to time. Just this past week, I was able to finally link one branch of my family tree way back to 1480!  Leonardo da Vinci was painting and the age of European exploration had begun. I also found that one of my ancestors, having crossed the ocean in a sailing vessel, was an early settler in Fairfax, CT in 1635, one of the settlements that later became the colony of Connecticut. With the possible exception of two or three notable figures, my “kin” were not famous for brilliant inventions that changed the world, politicians or even industrialists, but ordinary farmers and laborers working hard to get by. Unless you are American Indian or your family came to the United States more recently, I’m sure you have a similar story to tell.

Discovering these ancestors got me reflecting. In every branch of my family tree, one person was inspired to leave what was familiar, get on a ship, cross the daunting ocean, and start a new life in America with only the hope that life would be different. While I’m sure many left because of religious persecution back in the 1600s and more for economic opportunity in the 1800s, a decision to leave everything they knew for a completely unfamiliar situation had to have been difficult. But they did it, nonetheless.

Don’t gloss over that, but take a minute to reflect. What a scary decision that had to have been with significant and lasting consequences. They arrived in America and had to start over—build or find housing, perhaps learn a new language, establish an occupation, endure brutal winters, survive disease, and more. But it is because of these people, enduring all they did, that we are each here today, enjoying the freedoms we do in the USA. I’ve been a CPA, a company founder, and now I’m an author. You’ve probably changed occupations multiple times as well. We can be anything we want to be and do anything (legal 🙂 ) we want to do.

Perhaps because of the recent Paris attacks and being reminded how fragile life is, I am drawn to deeply appreciate the struggles and hardships my ancestors endured. I’m clear they did it to improve their lives and the lives of their children, but I am a beneficiary of their actions. So this Thanksgiving, I stop and thank those who came before—those who made that tough decision to radically change where they lived, not knowing what they would face or if they would endure, but with hope alone to guide them.

May your Thanksgiving be one of reflection and giving thanks for the bounty we enjoy every day and for the choices and endurance it took to be able to do so.

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19 thoughts on “#ThanksgivingIn5Words”

  1. As always, love reading your blog. My funny #ThanksgivingIn5Words would be The Dog at the Turkey. My family has been here in America for centuries, but someone had to make the leap from Europe – brave soul that they were!! I can’t imagine doing that today. Grateful that I’ve been able to raise my kids and make a home in one city.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that! What important roles these people played. I wish you much success finding other relatives. I don’t know about you, but curiosity always spurs me on. I just find it fascinating how people from varied backgrounds met each other as well as discovering the reason why they made various decisions, like moving, etc. Good stuff!

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      1. Two members of my family researched the paternal side back to the 1700s in the US. I have begun research on the maternal side and had a DNA test to start – something of a shock! We aren’t French at all…. Looks as though I’ll have to embrace the 72% of me that is pure Celt after all. Thanks for this, LRW, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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      2. LOL! There are much worse things in life to be sure 🙂

        I actually had something similar happen a while back when I was surprised to find that the “Bulmore” line of my family was not German as I’d always assumed, but English, from Yorkshire 🙂

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  2. Lovely grateful blog. Have a Happy Thanksgiving! It’s always fascinating to hear how people arrived here, the struggles they endured to make a new life, the dreams they carried in their hearts. We all have much to be grateful for! Thanks for sharing.

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