I grew up in a huge family. It was large because my grandparents came from large families. This means I had tons of great aunts and great uncles. When any of them showed up for Thanksgiving, and brought their kids, we regularly seated 30 or more people.
Times change. My second cousins grew up and have families of their own, as do I. The great aunts & uncles are mostly dead now, along with my grandparents. The all night pinochle events are a thing of the past.
We still manage the occasional big celebration, but I live in a different state than everyone else now.
This year, it’s just my wife and I. She works at a hospital and has to work Thanksgiving day. I will pre-bake my dinner rolls the night before and put the turkey on in the morning. She will show up mid day and we will have our dinner. I have to work Friday, but it’s a government job.
I respect the idea that some professions work. I want the hospitals open, the fire station on standby, and the military available. Our daughter works retail, and has to work Thanksgiving day. This I don’t understand.
People today aren’t as close as they used to be. We’re obsessed with our cell phones and social media. Couples even text each other over a common table; I’ve seen it. Thanksgiving is archaic by today’s standards.
Black Friday erased Thanksgiving from our culture. Heaven forbid we miss shopping in favor of sharing a meal with the family and friends we only see occasionally. I can see a day where people will forget how to cook a turkey. Mom took them shopping instead of showing the kids the ropes. Might as well, the stores are open. Maybe someday they’ll breed turkeys the size of cornish game hens. That way some of us can hold onto the tradition for another decade or so. Once I become part of the oldest generation, this holiday will be a quaint memory like so many others.
Twenty years from now, people will stop at Subway for a turkey sandwich on their way to Wal-Mart, and that will be the entirety of Thanksgiving. I’m not preaching here, I used to go shopping on Black Friday too, when I was younger. I even like the idea. I don’t like the idea that it has to become Black Thursday now.
It would take an effort of the common people to turn this around, and that isn’t possible. We can’t seem to get more than about 20% to vote on election day. If all of us refused to shop on Thanksgiving, the merchants would stop requiring family disbandment that day. Even if we only took advantage of online shopping it would help. The problem is families don’t really care anymore. This goes back to our social media and cell phones. I’ve seen my own kids texting people at Thanksgiving dinner in the past.
So I’m calling it. Get the toe tag out, Thanksgiving is dead. Park it over next to Pearl Harbor Day and VE Day, other days that were important to a fading generation. I’ll just mix up a Tom & Jerry and reminisce.