Thursday, November 24, 2011

merci beaucoup

I wonder if Native Americans celebrate thanksgiving like our family does. My great great grandma on my father's side was half Cherokee. That might not say a lot to most. That certainly doesn't make me Cherokee or anything but I think most would be surprised that I still knew her for about ten years of my life. We have a young family and I'm thankful for that.
 I'm thankful that I met my Ma Hattie (my great great grandmother) and at least five great grandparents. I had a pretty close relationship with my great grandmother on my mom's dad's side. And I'm thankful for that. I still have a great grandpa and he always manages to get the entire family together when he makes it back up here. He lives in Alabama, a survivor of the second world war and of two cancers. Still, to me, he seems healthy as ever. He's a strong man. Still working, still walking, still hiking. He has stories.
I'm incredibly thankful for him. I'm thankful for my grandparents all of whom are still living. Though I don't see my dad's parents as much, I still feel close to them. Even though my grandpa on dad's side never remembers me, I am still proud to be related to him. I still see him every year for Thanksgiving and sometimes for Easter. 
When telling a co-worker that I was going to Kentucky to see family, he asked if I was from there. Before I could answer, he noted that even if I wasn't I probably had roots there and that's probably why I'm so nice.
If you've never been to Kentucky, you might not understand. Everybody is sweet as sugar down here. 
A lot of times, when you give someone a compliment, they want one back. Not here. Palahniuk talks in some books about how people only ask you about yourself so that you'll ask them about theirs. Not here. 
They are a simple folk. And I do not mean that in a connotative way. You know all those movies where people get so caught up in technology, so lost in their agendas that they lose track of their real lives? They lose contact with their family, they forget what the real world looks like, feels like. They take the Earth and their loved ones for granted... That doesn't happen here. Here, they probably haven't seen one movie like that let alone the several that could fit into that category.
My grandpa here is a strong man. He is certainly a working man though an accident many years back claimed him unfit to work. Instead he works around the house. The thing about my grandparents is that they all used to party. They were those beatniks you see in old fashion photos. Blue jeans and white tees. Cigarettes rolled in the sleeves even if they didn't smoke. Everyone of them drove a motorcycle for at least some time. They're all calmer now but they sure can tell a story. And they really have a bunch of nice old photos time.
If you ever get the time, and haven't done so before and the option is still available for you, you should look at your grandparent's photos. So I'm thankful for my grandparents and for all of their stories and their pictures and all this time I've had so far to get to know them.
I'm thankful that I have roots in Kentucky. I'm thankful that I have strong, smart, hardworking role models with hearts of gold. I'm thankful to be so grounded. To have the opportunity to experience the modern world daily and be brought back to "real" life at least once a year.
I'm thankful for my brain. I see so many people that can't multi-task or focus long enough to read. I'm thankful that I had such encouraging, teaching-savvy parents. I'm thankful for my ability and eagerness to learn. It crushes me to see my nieces and nephew say things like, "I don't need to know math. A calculator can do that for me." Or, "I already took the quiz, I don't need to remember that anymore." I know I've said that a few times but I really do try to remember what I'm taught. At least now I guess.
I'm thankful for those angels- my nieces and nephew. I can't imagine a life without them. They each have such unique qualities that make me proud to be their aunt. I really am thankful for all of my family.
I can't even imagine how I could have possibly turned out without any single one of them. And I'm glad that, for the most part, they're all healthy.
Thanksgiving may have been started as a celebration of our taking land from the native Americans and then settling peacefully with them and may have continued as a sort of patriotic holiday but I only ever look at it as a day most of us get off of work where we can spend time with our loved ones and be thankful for them. It's a day to look back on our lives and ignore our regrets. Reminisce on the good times and really explore what makes us happy, what keeps us going. Whatever I have to be thankful for today, I have been thankful for before and will be thankful for again. And I'm thankful for having this day to look back and be thankful for it all.
Thank you for reading. Call me beautiful.

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