Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications
In an ideal world, I would have spent this past week walking around the UNCG campus, asking students what they like about Thanksgiving. I think that would have been a pretty cool blog—a collage of students’ feelings about a holiday that I assume would have yielded positive reactions. But since finals are right around the corner (wait for the blog about it), I didn’t have time to find out what everyone thinks. So I’d like to share a few words about why I’m excited that Thanksgiving is only a week away. At first I considered writing a more generic Thanksgiving blog, recounting some of the facts and its history—but since my elementary school lessons about a peaceful dinner between Pilgrims and Native Americans have been refuted, I’m not sure if I could write anything worth reading. And really, why is Thanksgiving important to us? Because of the times we spend with family and friends. When I think about Thanksgiving, I remember my personal connection to it. So as I write about the upcoming holiday, I hope your mind is filled with fond memories, too.
When I was a kid, my mom bought sparkling cider so the youths (shout-out to Schmidt from New Girl) could toast with the adults. My cousins and I would go through a few bottles and pretend like we were drunk off it—I’m not sure why. No one in our family drank too much, but the label on sparkling cider was fancy, like on wine bottles, and I guess that was all we needed to reveal our deepest secrets. That’s one my first memories. Another is when my grandfather made us all laugh. And I don’t mean laugh. I mean laugh laugh, with italics around the words, and three exclamation points at the end. I don’t remember what he said, but I can picture us, the entire family seated around the dinner table, understanding it at the time. And as I think about it now, that’s all I need to know, is that it was fun, not the reasons why.
I hope I’m not getting too carried away. I think it’s easy, in a blog like this, to go off on a tangent, reminiscing about moments that no one else knows. Some people might be reading this who haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving before—a few years ago, I was in the opposite situation, when I spent the fall semester at Lancaster University in England. Almost everyone in my hall was either from the UK or France, but since they’d heard me mention Thanksgiving, they went out and bought all of the essential items: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (from the can)—and now my mouth is starting to water, so I’ll end the list here. Although no one else had celebrated Thanksgiving before, it became one of the most memorable ones I’ve ever had. For a few hours that night, I felt like I was home, even though Doylestown, PA was more than 3,000 miles away.
There are a lot of Thanksgiving memories that I think we all share, even if we don’t celebrate the holiday together. Whether it’s going around the dinner table, saying what we’re thankful for, or watching football (rooting against the Dallas Cowboys, of course), we all have something in common when it comes to this day. It’s one of the few times a year when we can truly let go of everything else, when we can focus on enjoying the company of family and friends, without worrying about whatever trivial things come our way. I know this sounds overly simplistic, but it’s how I feel. I try to avoid cliches as much as possible and I don’t like sounding mushy—but how can I help it when Thanksgiving is only a week away? I sincerely hope that you have a safe and happy holiday, and I look forward to building more fond memories with all of you, my grad school family.