Telling National Review What I’m Thankful For

Telling National Review What I’m Thankful For November 26, 2014

Over at National Review, they asked a few folks to share what they are truly thankful for, in the Year of Our Lord, 2014. Given my grouses about the holiday, my answer might surprise some:

This Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks to God for the lives of my in-laws, one a daughter of Sicily and the other the son of immigrants. They are either approaching age 80, or on the other side of it, and 2014 has been the first year either of them have had to deal with a serious health issue. As ever, they were troopers about it.

They are part of the blue-collar backbone upon which America grew hardy and strong, and of a breed almost unrecognizable today: honest, faithful, selfless, unpretentious and hard–working. They are untroubled by trends and uninterested in indulging commonplace chatter, or navel-gazing, or their own hurt feelings.

Raising five sons on a workman’s salary (supplemented by second, sometimes third, jobs) this couple has modeled for us the whole idea of what “unconditional love” means. She is the first person on the block to greet a new neighbor or, hearing of illness, bring food for the family. He is the man who — if he sees anyone working on a project — does not hesitate to amble over with a toolbox as unaccountably full as Mary Poppins’ carpetbag, and a lifetime’s worth of experience and creative invention, to share.

They’ve watched their sons become educated, married, divorced, depressed and, sometimes, out-of-the-closet, without ever once giving the impression, or the suggestion, that there were limits to what they could love, or would accept.

They are ridiculous about Thanksgiving, and how they have lived so long — and remained quite fit — eating manicotti, and lasagna, and cannolis, is either a testament to the healing power of making every meal a celebration of family, or a rebuke to the government’s food pyramid and its claimed expertise. I grouse about their requirements for the Thanksgiving meal, but I am thankful that they are healthy, and still with us — still rocking the pastamaker, still calling to neighbors, from porch to porch, with an offer of black coffee and a little dolce. Capiche?

Lots more grateful (and thankfully) short bursts of Thanksgiving prose, over at NRO, featuring Hugh Hewitt, Marco Rubio, Joseph Bottum and Marjorie Dannenfelser, among others. Check it out!

And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I’m thankful for YOU, too!

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