If I have my timing right for when this column goes to press, it is safe to say tomorrow the majority of you reading this will celebrate Thanksgiving. Hopefully, you will sit down with family and friends to enjoy a homemade turkey dinner – with all the fixins.
Fixins means different things to different people, but when I was growing up it translated to stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed cauliflower, corn, peas and the infamous green bean casserole. Warm Parker House rolls were also supposed to be on that list, but in my house Thanksgiving was not complete until mom smelled the burning bread that signified she had once again forgotten to take the rolls out of the oven.
This year’s Thanksgiving for me is version 6.0. The milestone of milestones for Boomers. The year we turn 60. The year we start asking “How did I get this old?” The year we perform a litmus test on our life and subsequently reassess our goals. The year we shift priorities. And the year we realize we are so much more thankful for the little things.
For me, turning 60 meant focusing on my blessings and no longer sweating the small stuff. Sitting in traffic has become a time to listen to music, phone a friend or to soak in my surroundings – especially the wonder of nature. Weekends are no longer spent cleaning house, they are for drives in the mountains and dinner with friends. And work is about a job I enjoy every day as opposed to merely a way to sustain a lifestyle.
And so this Thanksgiving is just one more opportunity to reflect on the things for which I am most thankful.
I am thankful that I live in what I still consider the greatest country in the world. This star-spangled senior appreciates her freedoms and her opportunities. I wish I had the time, and the finances, to visit every little town from sea to shining sea. I want to photograph the amber waves of grain and climb the purple mountain’s majesty. I will forever put my hand over my heart when saying the Pledge of Allegiance and I will always stand proudly and sing the words to the Star Spangled Banner when I hear it played. This land will always be my land.
I am thankful for turkeys. Let’s face it, what would Thanksgiving be without a browned bird at the dinner table? White meat, dark meat, legs and wings – drizzled with gravy and set on a bed of cornbread dressing. But I am also thankful for human turkeys – those silly people who do ridiculous things that leave me looking like a genius.
I am thankful for hair dye. May seem like a shallow statement, but for a Boomer woman it is a saving grace. At this age, our hair begins to thin, no longer holds a style and seems to stop growing – but by golly we can make it any color we choose.
I am thankful for family. My girls, my grandchildren, my exes, their spouses…..dysfunctional as we are, we make it work with large doses of love, honesty and support along with copious amounts of wine.
I am thankful for the radio. Not Sirius, not an iPod, not CDs. The radio accompanies me on my commute to work and lets me know the impending weather forecast, what routes to avoid because of a traffic jam and what’s on sale at local stores. It also surprises me with songs from my past that never cease to invoke wonderful memories. Catch me off guard with ”Stairway to Heaven” or “Baby I’m Amazed” and the tone is set for my entire day.
I am thankful for my job. It’s the best alternative I could hope for until I can retire.
I am thankful for frozen yogurt. It is the one justifiable dessert. It has probiotics.
I am thankful for Spanx. It needs no explanation. If you have worn them, you understand.
I am thankful for the four seasons. The warmth of the summer sun, the amazing Technicolor of fall foliage, a quiet walk during a late night snowfall and the blooming nature of spring. Oh, and I also loved their hits like “Sherry,” “Rag Doll” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
I am thankful for laughter. It makes the lungs expand, the heart pump healthy and it truly is the best medicine. See how you feel after a good belly laugh session. It is a euphoria you never want to end.
Tomorrow when you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal take a moment to count your blessings, smile at your friends and tell your family you love them. Then enjoy the fixins.
Cindy Phillips is a columnist for The Mountian Times, firstname.lastname@example.org.