We humans love traditions. To do something again that we have done in the past gives us comfort; it is a way of connecting the past with an evermore confusing present. Some traditions are personal and some get adopted by others and become societal. We teach them to our children to have them carried forward. Thanksgiving is one of those traditions that connects us to the early days of Europeans in North America. The harvest time of year, the turkey, the pumpkin pies all remind us that life was difficult and the help of our neighbors was sometimes needed.
My Muse and I have our own Thanksgiving tradition. We begin the day with a Thanksgiving Day race, a 5k race that we did yesterday with 1000 of our best friends (most of whom we had never met before). When the race is over, we rush home to get the turkey in the oven. It never seems like there will be enough time between the race and when people start to arrive for the other half of the tradition: the friends and neighbors potluck. But, it always works out, and we have learned to trust that the turkey will be ready on time. We are never quite sure who will show up or what they will bring (no pre-planning for the potluck here–just bring what you want). We are always surprised that we have way too much (well, that isn’t really a surprise), and that we have a balance meal. We never end up with 15 salads or deserts and nothing else.
Some didn’t make it this year. The neighbors who run a Chinese restaurant had a family obligation. One friend was suddenly in the hospital. One neighbor who just had knee replacement showed up on her walker. But, some new folks appeared and said they would be back next year. So, the tradition continues to build and will continue to be a part of how we connect the past to the present and our neighbors to ourselves. That continuity keeps us grounded and helps make sense of life.