As the scintillating title states, today's blog deals with two different things. Let's take them in chronological order:
First thing: Thanksgiving Day. Literally translated, it means a day to give thanks. Though its historical roots have been debated and muddied by political correctness and romanticized history, it still remains a uniquely American holiday whose sole purpose is to spend the day with a "gratitude attitude" for all the blessings we've received.
Some might question how blessed they've been when all the setbacks and losses they suffered through the year are taken into account, but one can't count a loss without having had a blessing to begin with. This year, our family has suffered the loss of a beloved uncle. It's hard to feel "thankful" knowing that our dear Uncle Sonny won't be at the table this year, sharing our meal, but we are thankful for the many memories we have of previous Thanksgivings--and Christmases and summers and other times we spent together. That will be our focus.
Some people have setbacks for which thankfulness evades them. Losing a job or facing a serious illness are situations where it's hard to be thankful for what you had before. I hope that for them, Thanksgiving Day is a day of hope for better times ahead... and things to be thankful for.
Second thing: Small Business Saturday. Yeah, laugh it up, since everyone knows I work at Walmart, but it's thanks to two small businesses that I have an interesting and fun-filled life and have the opportunity to do something I really love to do!
First off, a tip of the hat to Noisy Water Winery. Up until about four years ago, my knowledge and taste for wine was defined by Boone's Farm and Arbor Mist (if I wanted to be sophisticated, I went for Beringer White Zinfandel.) Thanks to Noisy Water, and many other small, family-owned and operated wineries in the state of New Mexico, my taste has expanded and blossomed. What you get in a bottle of wine from a small vineyard or winery is more than just fermented grapes: you get a lot of love for the craft and art of winemaking, a history of the families who have cultivated the earth to produce it, the faith needed to undertake the task and business of producing wine. And in Noisy Water's case, I also got a second job with wonderful people who love what they produce and love to introduce new people to it.
Second, there is Oak Tree Press, a small, independent publishing house who took a chance on a new, unknown writer (that would be me) and brought her dreams to fruition. It's the small publishers who are most likely to help a fledgling author see their work in print, who encourage and nurture beginning writing careers, who say "I believe in you" with a contract, not a Hallmark card, and help another voice be heard over the cacophony of thousands of competing authors.
So this coming Saturday, after you count your blessings and then turn your thoughts to Christmas shopping (hopefully you're doing those things in that order!), remember the small businesses. They are run by dreamers and doers and put their heart into the things they produce and sell.
Here is my shameless plug for my favorite small businesses:
Visit in person or visit us on-line. You'll find specials there to rival any "Black Friday" sale and the best part, you'll be giving a gift produced with love and care and pride, something worthy of the recipient! As a bonus, you'll be helping to keep the dream of these small business owners alive and healthy!
Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!