Thanksgiving has always had a very place in my heart, and over the years there have been some very joyous occations and some that we are just grateful for the gift of being able to go on another day. One thing has always remaind steadfast, I do love Thanksgiving and everything that it stands for. I think it a very special thing indeed that an entire nation dedicate a national holiday to give thanks to God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon our nation, which have beed poured out so abundantly. That is the meaning of Thanksgiving, not the turkey and not the shopping and dare I say it not even ..... the stuffing...oh yea they play football too I am told. No, Thanksgiving is a day to pause and thank the Lord for all that He has Blessed our country and our famlies with during the preciding year.
I'd like to share a few of my own Thanksgiving Day memories and maybe you will too. I remember my Mom and I going to Mass at St William Catholic Church ,here in Naples, on Thanksgiving morning many years. Now, Mass was not a Holy day of obligation but it alyays felt a fitting and approiate way to begin a day of reflecting on the Lord's blessings. Anyway, the Knights of Columbus for many years collected food for the poor on that morning so my Mom would always take armfulls of pies to drop off to the men to take to the poor. Pies were always in demand, she would explain as many of the ladies already had the turkeys and sides ready. It was so special to see the genorociety of my mother and the devotion that she showed year after year delivering those pies that it left a mark on me that I will forever carry and be grateful for.
Another year, my Dad and I decided to do a little fishing on Thanksgiving morning before the festivities....just the two of us. I was living out of the area at the time, so weekend and holidays were very special for him and I as we were the best of buddies. So off we go to troll for some king mackeral which was just about the right time and temprature and a beautiful day. While trolling off the coast of Naples with some big Rapalla lures SMASH a giant fish jumped out of the water and clobbered our bait and after a epic battle my Dad landed a GIANT tarpon well oner 130lbs. If you know anything about fishing trolling is NOT how you catch these fish, well we contnued to get our lured crushed by these monsters for several hours and lost more than a few 20.00 plugs for (which my Dad had a few choice words for my knot tying skills). While still trolling, we caught a huge grouper and 2 Kings. From then on, it remained the greatest day of fishing that I ever had, and likely will ever.
Like I mentioned some Thanksgivings were tougher. My wonderful wife Jenny had Cancer twice. Well during her first battle, while the world was having a wonderful time and shopping on Black Friday, we were at Florida Cancer Specialists where she had to get a chemotherapy infusion. It was terrible and we were both deeply saddened and worried about her health as well as what the future held. Also knowing in a few hours she would be felling beyond ill and really understanding what the phrase "bone pain" means in an intimate way. I was a new father and a personal friend of Santa Claus (I know him from long ago) I called my old friend and mentor and asked a favor. To cheer Jenny and the rest of the patients up would he have time to swing by and maybe just say hi to the folks and spread some cheer. Well he blew my socks off! He showed up in full gear and passed out treats to all of the patients having treatments and greeting all of the staff bringing the full power of Christmas into the Chemo room that day. From that moment on no one in that room ever again doubted that Santa was real.
Then last Thanksgiving. My Dad was diagnosed with Cancer too. He too was undergoing treatments at the same facility, but didnt have to be there on Black Friday at least. Him and my Mom didn't feel like going out to our home or my sibbling's home for dinner as Dad was feeling very weak and sick from the illness and the treatments. It was the most difficult time of my life, caring for my hero. Well my beloved Jenny and I went to him and my mother and had Thanksiving for him there and we did fried turkey and all th etrimmings. I learned how to make sausage dressing and I thought it was AWESOME. Everyone had a great time and we got to just enjoy each other's company. This would be my Dad's last Thanksgiving.
This year I am grateful for many things. First and formost though I am grateful for the gift of the life of my Dad. He showed me how to be a man, husband and father. I am so thankful to the Lord for this tremendous blessing that be drenched me with. The Bible says to Him that much is given much is expected. I have been given the world by this man I could never come close to the expectation that I will be measured by. I am also grateful for the gift of my mother. She showed me the witness of true devotion and loyalty. She has also taught me how to be hard working, generous and caring (for everyone). The gift of my wife and daughters, I am a better man because of them. One can not be this close to such good without having an effect and for their complete goodnes I am grateful. I am also grateful for the gift of my sibblings and their famlies, coworkers, clients, Molly, Buddy, and the gang.
From all of us here at Heritage Insurance Agency..... Happy Thanksgiving