It’s good manners to be thankful, so we have this holiday once a year to remember to be thankful. But, why not have other “manner-related” holidays?
We could have it the day before Thanksgiving, and if you don’t do Pleasegiving, you don’t get to eat Thanksgiving.
Other potential holidays: OpenTheDoorForStrangersGiving, NoInteruptingConversationsGiving, ForkOnTheLeftOfThePlatesGiving, CoverYourNoseWhenYouSneezeGermsNonGiving, NoBelchingInElevatorsGiving… just a few ideas.
Now, we used to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV when we were kids. I loved seeing the large, looming inflatable cartoon characters that glided across our 13-inch black-and-white TV. Oddly enough, the characters often looked smaller than they did on their own cartoon shows. Come to think of it, it was kind of disappointing. But we’d hold out til the end each year, because Santa was supposed to be at the end of the parade. This was exciting, but it also felt kinda out of context. Sorta like seeing Spock at the end of a Star Wars movie.
It’s not like they let the giant turkey make an appearance in the Christmas Parade. (Then again, the turkey would be eaten by then).
A good friend of mine who exemplifies Thanksgiving EVERY day is comedian / impressionist Sam Beman. He’s a living and breathing icon of how to be thankful, even in the midst of life’s trials.
Sam has had quite a year! Going back a little bit, he rounded out 2014 by proposing to the love of his life at Disney Word’s Magic Kingdom. Even while planning this life-altering trip, Sam was thinking of others. He realized that his mom needed a little more joy in her life, so he invited her to go with him and his girlfriend to Orlando, so that she could see her son get engaged!
Then after a quick engagement, Sam and Sarah were married, ready to spend a life in marital bliss! That is, until the doctors report came in one month later. For the past few years, Sam had been dealing with swollen lymph node glands. There were times when they would get quite painful. But each time he got them checked out, they said there was nothing to worry about. Leading up to his wedding date, he avoided the doctor, until he was hit with a debilitating sciatic pain in his leg. This resulted in his honeymoon, back at the Magic Kingdom, being anything but magical. The pain was excruciating.
By the time they had been home for a couple of weeks, Sam looked terrible. Sarah had even confided in some people at church that she thought her new husband may be dying. He didn’t even have the strength to open a door. The pain kept him from working, or just about anything else in life. And he didn’t have medical insurance. Luckily, the wife of their church choir director worked at a free medical clinic and he stopped by to have some labs drawn.
Within just a couple hours of having his blood drawn, Sam received a call from the doctor telling him that he was in critical condition with an extremely low hemoglobin count and he needed to get to a hospital immediately. They learned that his kidneys were actually shutting down, landing him right on death’s doorstep.
After putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, the doctor diagnosed him with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Sam then had the opportunity to endure the “best bone marrow biopsy” his medical team had ever performed! He started out with some Disney impressions while they were beginning the procedure, but quickly realized that it probably wasn’t a great idea to make the guy who is drilling into him laugh out loud. The tests confirmed that he had stage four Hodgkin’s Disease Lymphoma, resulting in several months of chemotherapy, radiation, and a whole lot of yuck!
At first, he lost the ability to taste foods and everything was awful.
So, to keep his own spirits up and make the most out of a terrible situation, Sam would try to entertain the patients and staff every time he went in for treatment, regardless of how he felt, himself. And there were A LOT of REALLY painful days!
But, thanks to Sarah, Sam has kept his head held high throughout it all. As Sam puts it, “Next to Jesus, she has been my rock!”
Through it all, he has learned to be thankful for life – it’s more fragile than we realize. He’s thankful for second chances. Getting that close to dying has given him a whole new perspective on how precious living is. He’s thankful for his family. He’s thankful that God has sustained him every step of the way. And, he’s extremely thankful for Sarah and his four step-children.
It blew Sam’s mind when a giant group of comics rallied around him and put on a concert to raise money to help with their medical costs. Even more humbling was their attitudes toward doing it. As Tim Hawkins put it, “You’re our friend. Of course we’re going to do this and help you out!”
Sam actually has a fundraiser going at gofundme.com. All you have to do is type in “Keep Sam Laughing” in order to donate, learn more about his story, and join in Sam’s comeback!
Finally, I’m so thankful to have my dear friend Kristin Weber join the show. Now, Kristin has been a little slower than most when it comes to adopting the latest in technology. She just recently traded in her flip phone and finally got an iPhone. However, she only got the 5c, in an effort to avoid any eternal problems by getting the 666 model. She knew she needed to upgrade when she was walking along and a homeless man called her out for having a flip phone. When people living on the streets are making fun of your material possessions, it’s time to make a change.
Now, after just a few weeks of owning her iPhone, she has partaken of the kool aid and is completely dependant on it.
Yet, oddly enough, she hardly ever makes any phone calls anymore. But it’s not like she has given up any emotion filled communication, using her actual, intimate voice to speak with someone… not when there are emojis for everything!
But, what she has found confoundingly frustrating are Group Texts! As Kristin puts it, since we’ve gotten rid of water-boarding, why don’t we just include suspected terrorists in a group text in order to get information out of them?! Then again, that might violate the Geneva Convention.