I was eating dinner at a restaurant in Cancún, México one Thanksgiving (I know…of all the sacrilegious things an American can do) when a middle-aged English chap at the next table blurted-out in my direction; “I can tell by your accent that you’re American, right?”
When I responded in the affirmative, he proceeded to ask the following question: “What’s this whole Thanksgiving thing about anyway?” My tongue-in-cheek response was that we (Americans) were celebrating getting away from you (the British). On that note, we all had a quick chuckle, another sip of our Mojitos and then promptly got into an argument over turkey.
You see, he claimed that turkeys were native to England since (obviously and logically) “people have been eating turkey dinner on Christmas in England for hundreds of years.” I, on the other hand, explained that turkeys were from the Americas and were brought over to England in the early 16th-century. On that point, we agreed to disagree.
But being away for Thanksgiving that year got me thinking about what this holiday really means. Sure, we all are thankful for our health, our family and the ability to put food on the table – these are all obvious things to be thankful for. But I’m not sure it really hits home until your health, someone in your family or that steady job goes away.
This year I’ve had some (albeit minor) health issues, to which I’ve taken steps to correct. But those issues kept me off the links for good amount of time – enough time to realize that golf (for me anyway) is a little bit of therapy – It’s a reminder of all that’s good in this world and if you can get yourself back out on the course, the healing process is complete (I’m sure Stinky Golfer Pete, whose health issues this season were far more serious than mine, would agree).
This past weekend, my healing process finished – I played golf for the first time in months. I played with my father, who at 76, hadn’t hit the links in two years and wasn’t sure he’d even be able to finish our 9-hole round (he would have been content to quit when he got tired and follow me in the cart for the rest of the round). Well, I’m happy to report he not only finished all 9-holes, but played better than expected to boot. As for me, I walked all 9 sans any gout pain in my foot. And I too shot better than expected (not my best round ever, but it could have been far worse).
So, as I settle in tomorrow to eat, drink and watch the Packers crush the Lions (and hopefully my Dolphins sneak past the Cowboys); I’ll be thankful. Not just for my health or my family or even for golf. I’ll be thankful for all of it.
And to our readers in the UK: Turkeys are as American as Pumpkin Pie (yes, pumpkins are from here too…).