For some people today is the start of the “holiday season.” Thanksgiving begins what often becomes a rush up until Christmas. Moods tend to be more festive, if not carefree. As for me, I always save up vacation days so that I can make my own mini “semester break” late in December. From the onset of the holiday season I can see far enough to be able to make it through the rest of the year. For me the season seems to begin at Halloween. It’s not a federal holiday and I don’t know anyone who gets Halloween off of work, but I take holidays seriously, and Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all anticipated days. And in the spirit of the day, I’m thinking of the many things for which I’m thankful.
Family, friends, and health go without saying. I really don’t need a holiday to remind me to be grateful for these things. This year I’m thankful to have made it back from Denver unscathed. Since it was over twelve hours of travel (less than three of those hours spent in flight) to get home, it was a long, weary, mask-wearing day of travel. Denver Airport is nearly an hour from downtown. The American Airlines agent was able to get me an earlier flight to Chicago. My reading was disrupted by sleepiness and the fact that the woman next to me was watching Jordan Peele’s Nope on her laptop. I’ve been meaning to watch it again, so I hope I wasn’t obvious when I didn’t strictly observe the custody of my eyes. The most grueling part, however, was the four-hour layover in Chicago’s O’Hare.
No matter what the owners do, there’s a limit to how comfortable airport waiting can be. You have to keep a constant eye on your bags. Very, very few people are wearing masks. And two days before Thanksgiving is a busy travel day with people trying to avoid the busiest travel day of the year (yesterday). I’m thankful to have gotten home and not to have been too much the worse for the wear. And I’m thankful to spend a day not having to wear a mask. It’s funny how having to wear one for five straight days all day long can become a point of dread. I like being able to take a drink of water without having to pull down a mask. Returning to life as usual will take some adjustment—it always does. So much travel after spending years not doing it is a bit of a shock to the system. I’m reminded of one of the most colourful place names we encountered in the highlands of Scotland, and it is my theme this Thanksgiving: Rest and Be Thankful.