November 21, 2014Many people consider Thanksgiving to be their favorite holiday: no presents to buy, no outdoor decorations to hang in the frigid weather, no indoor greenery shedding needles that will continue to be vacuumed out of the carpet eight months later, no mandatory staying up late, and no noisy fireworks that drive the dog crazy. Truth be told, these probably aren’t the same people who are expecting 17 at their 12 person-maximum dining table, complete with Aunt Gertrude who always has an opinion and is not afraid to express it. In a way, it’s another celebration of freedom of choice. Now, this may mean choosing what kind of stuffing (dressing?) to make, to brine or not to brine, sweet potatoes in addition to regular mashed? Do we really need rolls with all the other carbs we’re going to consume? But we were thinking more of this being a day of choosing to spend time with family and friends, in spite of all we know about them. Choosing to ignore petty differences in order to make familial memories that will last for years to come (Aunt Gertrude!). Choosing to celebrate the good given us and vowing to do more to show our gratitude in response. This makes it a pretty unique holiday. The idea has spread and has been embraced by many in the British Isles where “American Thanksgiving” has become a “thing.” The historical irony is not lost on us. This Thursday will probably feel like a Busman’s Holiday for so many of you. Feeding people? Check. Working to make lives better? Check. Knowing that a small act of fate separates us from that person in the homeless shelter? Check and check. How fortunate we are in the fraternal system to work with people in organizations where we get to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving every day. On behalf of the staff of the American Fraternal Alliance, we are proud to work for you and wish you and yours a truly blessed holiday!