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By Jesse Utz 

A lot to be thankful for

Jess Shut Up

 


In 1621 the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians celebrated a successful first harvest. The meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meats. They played games, sang and danced. In 1846 a columnist campaigned for a national holiday; she incorrectly labeled the first feast of 1621 as a Thanksgiving meal.

It wasn’t till 1863 that Abraham Lincoln declared that there be two national Thanksgivings, one in August and one in November. We were to give thanks for general blessings in our lives. Sometime in the next 100 years the August holiday was dropped and the fourth Thursday in November became Thanksgiving Day.

In 2012 the day looks a lot different than the first celebration in 1621, but the giving of thanks, and blessings in our lives continues. I, as many of you, will gather around a table with family and friends and reflect back on the last 365 days. We will think of family members lost and family members born. We will reflect on our accomplishments and our failures, our heartbreaks and our new loves, our journey and our stumbles. We will laugh, cry, pray and smile. We will reminisce about past holidays and sit and watch football as our food digests in our overstuffed stomachs. We may have different traditions or ways to celebrate the day, but the one thing for sure is we will think of something we are thankful for.

I will be thankful for my health. The past few years looked like my body was not going to recover to any kind of functioning man, as I saw it. But I am returning to full-time work this week, and I am thankful for the chance to be a contributing member of the family again. It is not the job I always saw myself doing, but I am going to do it with joy in my heart.

I am also thankful for my wife. She has stuck by me through a roller coaster marriage and the scary disease that almost killed me on one occasion. She has taken on the added responsibilities and cleaned up after my shedding skin. At one point she worked two jobs, one all night, one all day, just so we could attempt to pay some bills. She started as my best friend and we have developed into a great partnership. I never knew I could love someone so much.

I am thankful for our son and daughter. (I wrote about son a few weeks ago) Our daughter has a tenacity for doing good. She is a small town girl and wants to stay that way and that is good for us. She comes when ever we need help and always seems to be joyous even when we know she is struggling with things in her own life. Her smile is contagious and we love having her and her husband around. They are doing good on their beginning of life together.

I am thankful for the student exchange program. Lucas has brought a new joy and experiences to our life. To see a young male, wide eyed and willing to learn new things, is a blessing. We are honored to have him at our feast table as his parents in Brazil will be missing him at theirs. To my Brazilian fans, know that Lucas will eat very well this Thursday and he will work it off at wrestling practice the next day.

I am thankful for this community that has been there for me through the years. You are all a blessing. Whether you gave at a fund raiser, patted me on the back at the store or graced my family with your love and words, Thank You.

But I am most thankful for the Faith and Love in my life from the Creator of the Stars, the Healer, the Provider. In the times I only saw darkness and gloom, He walked with me and sometimes carried me. I saw Him in the face of wife, son, daughter, community and strangers these past few years and I thank you all for allowing Him to work in your lives, so He could work in mine through you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy your meal, family, friends and faith.

 

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