Turkey Drop*

Standard

turkey

My daughter recently taught me a term I had never heard before: the turkey drop. The turkey drop refers to the phenomenon that occurs when romantic couples go off to different colleges or graduate schools and try to maintain a long-distance relationship. Invariably (apparently), these couples break up by Thanksgiving – thus the term “turkey drop.”

When I first heard it, I found the expression humorous. Lately, though, I’ve been considering what people/things/habits I might separate myself from. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving and the time-honored Turkey Drop, I am challenging myself to get rid of the following:

1. mean-spirited people on Facebook. They will never have to know I am unhappy with their “low blow” types of posts. I can simply unfollow their posts without unfriending them. I have no doubt some of my FB friends have decided to unfollow my many liberal political diatribes.

2. arguing about politics. In the same vein, I’m pretty sure I have never convinced someone to change his or her political convictions by arguing my case. As my daughter recently pointed out, after 28 years of marriage, my husband and I are still polar opposites when it comes to politics. Why spend fruitless hours and create hard feelings arguing about partisan issues? I plan to follow the same policy on Facebook, where it is much easier to volley verbal grenades at one’s opponent from safely behind a keyboard. This does not mean I will not continue to post articles and blog posts expressing my views. I simply won’t engage in a pointless shouting match.

3. sarcasm. I enjoy a witty barb as much as the next person, and some of my favorite comedians use sarcasm like a finely honed weapon. Yet I tend to use it  as a defense mechanism or way to feel superior to others.

4. general negativity. This may be the hardest challenge of all for me. I tend to be a “glass half full” type of person. Negativity leads to fatalistic thinking, depression, gossip, and surliness. The holidays are a good time to shake things up and try to approach the world with a positive point of view.

I have many other bad habits that could use a revamp, but as the Christmas holidays approach, I think these are a good start. I encourage others to perform their own “turkey drops” and get rid of whatever is holding them back from claiming their own happiness.

What turkeys do you need to drop?

*Author’s note: In looking for a photo to accompany my post, I learned that in Yellville, Arkansas, live turkeys are actually dropped from planes every Thanksgiving. This is a horrible and barbaric tradition and instance of animal cruelty. Yellvillains should be ashamed of themselves. Time to “turkey drop” this tradition!

 

Advertisements

Stumbling Toward Thankfulness

Standard

unknown-2

I am having a hard time feeling cheerful this holiday season. Recent events of national political significance have rendered me alternatively depressed and angry. Every day’s news deepens my feelings of helplessness and fear. People keep telling me to get over it and move on. Well, I have no intentions of moving on or ignoring what is happening in the country I love. But I do need to work on a little perspective and seek some peace for my own sake and the sake of my family.

One thing that helps is the realization that we have had much darker times in the history of this country. The Civil War literally threatened to rip our Union apart. Our nation has survived two world wars, the Great Depression, and the terrible quagmire of Vietnam – not to mention the many thousands of lives lost on 9/11 and subsequently in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Our black citizens no longer live under Jim Crow laws. Women have the right to vote, own property, and work outside the home. While I can’t pretend that things are completely rosy in our society today, I can at least acknowledge that we have made great strides toward tolerance and freedom in America.

Another thing that helps me is the realization that I have people whom I love dearly and who love me. In less than 48 hours, my two sons will be home from college. They will get busy messing up their too-pristine bedrooms and looking for home-cooked food. They, along with my two daughters, will join us for our annual road trip to Detroit, Michigan, where we will feast on my mother-in-law’s delicious Thanksgiving meal and reconnect with brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. No matter how we may differ politically, we are family, and nothing can ever take the place of that fact.

Finally, I have a strong faith in God, who I truly believe is in control. While I don’t think God wants me to sit around and wait for the Second Coming, I do think He asks me to trust Him that all will be well. I will try.

I am so blessed in so many ways. For the holidays, I will turn my focus outward into the world and try to bring goodness into it. There are so many things I can do, and indeed that each one of us can do, to make the world a little happier, healthier, and more secure. Toy and food drives, donations to charities, and simple human kindness in our everyday dealings with others can go a long way to bring about a society in which we are proud to live.

This holiday season I plan to take to heart the adage to “be the change you want to see in the world.”

 

Snow Surprised

Standard

IMG_0524.JPGA rare pre-Thanksgiving snow is falling outside my kitchen window as I write. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say I welcome the winter white, it was lovely to wake up and view our trees and lawn covered with snow.

Last night my teenage daughter came home happy and glistening. She and her friends had gone outside in the snow that had just started falling and found it to be wet and packable, perfect for snowball fights and snowman building. Indeed, this morning as I drove slowly through our little town, I saw numerous children, puffy like the Michelin man in their snow pants and coats, happily making snowmen or dragging sleds to the local hill. Parents of toddlers pulled them in little seated sleds along the slick sidewalks.

A snowy day is perfect for an extra cup of coffee, a warm throw blanket, and a good book or a college football game on TV. Even a walk outside is not so bad since the temperatures haven’t taken a precipitous dive yet. An early season snow has trouble sticking on the warm sidewalks and driveways. Sure, there will be some snow cleanup later. But for now, the world outside reminds me that winter is coming, and that means holidays and family and mulling spices scenting our household.

By Thanksgiving the snow will have melted. This snow is just a warmup (or a coldup?) for the months ahead. So welcome, snow. It’s kind of nice seeing you again.