The Pleasures of Thanksgiving

karenI’m posting late today because I’ve been busy doing what Americans do on this Thursday in November.  Most of us…around 88%…eat turkey today–ours has been submerged in my son’s special brine overnight and will hit the oven soon.  Fifty million of us watch the Macy’s Thanksgving Day Parade. We’ve checked that one off, too, with votes for favorite balloon going to Snoopy and Hello Kitty. As an anatomy nerd, the folks holding the ropes that tether the balloons always remind me of the papillary muscles and chordae tenineae of the heart’s AV valves.  I’m betting some of my students thought about that, too, since it’s an illustration that I always share.

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation

Thanksgiving may officially rank as America’s #2 favorite holiday, behind Christmas.  For me, it’s long been #1. Here at pleasureinlearning, we’re all about thinking about the things that bring us pleasure. Then we figure out how those same pleasures might be used to help our students learn. All of our “pleasures in learning” (see our sidebar) play a role in our family’s special day.

#1 Sensual pleasure

Talk about a dunk shot!  The apple pie in the oven smells great.  Mashed potatoes with gravy taste great. My family members’ faces look great, and the sound of their laughter and whooping as they watch football sounds great. And nothing feels better than a hug from a child too long absent from home.

photo 2#2 Surprise

This day always brings phone calls and messages from friends and loved ones that we’ve missed.  It’s frigid here today, and my daughter-in-law needed a hat for the Turkey Trot.  She’s a beautiful, fashion-forward girl, so I was surprised and delighted when she selected an “Uncle Buck” hat from the buffet of hats in our coat closet.

#3 Humor

See #2. As the day progresses, the family jokes and stories will fly. The kids will remind me of childhood debacles—most of which I caused—that I have long forgotten.

#4 Achievable challenge

Getting the feast to the table with every item at the proper temperature and in the right quantities always feels like a triumph, especially if I can manage lump-free gravy and unburned biscuits.

#5 Belonging to a group

Membership in the Dougherty family is my proudest credential.  Our Thanksgiving tradition includes joining several hundred other citizens of our little town for the annual Turkey Trot. This year’s route included a section of our new Rails-to-Trails pathway, an addition we’ve been anticipating for several years now. photo 1

#6 Owning something of value

See #5. The clan includes 2 corgis, a havanese,  a pug, and a newly adopted cat. You might correctly point out that they own us, and not the converse. Welcome to the family, Waffles!

#7 Autonomy

I’m planning on exercising my autonomy after dinner. I’ve been busy in the kitchen for two days (and let’s not forget three trips to the grocery), so I plan to rise from the table, pour myself a glass of wine, and head to the couch while the rest of the crew washes up.


One comment on “The Pleasures of Thanksgiving

  1. Neat! Love the photos. I had never heard of the Turkey Trot, but just TG afternoon I did when my niece Anna Gentry told me she had run, along with friend Tracey Lewis. I enlarged the family pic. You’ve got some big, distinguished looking guys to feed! If there are any left over mashed potatoes (doubt it!) don’t throw them away.

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