In yesterday's post I offered up the epigraph from my forthcoming book, and my delight therewith. Namely:
"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."—Henry Clay
It strikes me that Mr. Clay's remark also works particularly well for a Thanksgiving post in the midst of, for many, a very tough year.
When I got back from my Angola-Saudi Arabia-Dubai-Ecuador-India-Etc. marathon, I tweeted about the fact that my greatest thrill (yes, thrill) was the Unmitigated Joy of the Ordinary: doing my laundry, chatting with neighbors at nearby Mach's Market, working through Susan's T'giving shopping list, and, yes, washing the dinner dishes (I don't use the dishwasher—I like the therapeutic part of hand washing).
I am not soft-peddling the loss of a job or a major reduction in hours or the like. Nonetheless, what we pretty much all do have is the opportunity to be thoughtful to others—to offer up "courtesies of a small and trivial character."
Add these kindred quotes to the "keeper" list:
"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble."—Helen Keller
"We do no great things, only small things with great love."—Mother Teresa
So how about dedicating Thanksgiving 2009 to purposefully Practicing Courtesies of a Small and Trivial Character?
(I started out this Wednesday by sending "Happy Thanksgiving" emails of no more than a few lines in length to about 80 or 90 people.) (As usual, the responses are pretty amazing—so much so that it almost makes the drill feel self-serving.) (Speaking of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I just read that the pilgrim fathers and mothers preceded Thanksgiving by a fast day. I think that is a marvelous idea. Alas, I read the article after breakfast on Wednesday. But next year ...)
At any rate, Happy Thanksgiving. And, as always, my deepest gratitude to our soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines away from home, and in many cases in harm's way, on this November 26th.