The week of celebrated gluttony is upon us. Of course, as of late I have partook in gluttony just for gluttony’s sake — pizza, Chinese, Mexican buffet for the first time in two years. If anyone knows a hypnotist I can see about what my mother refers to as an eating demon, please let me know.

I digress.

It is the week of Thanksgiving, and I’ve hemmed and hawed in my brain about what I should write about. The standard “What I’m thankful for this year” essay was considered at length. It reminded me of the time that I tried therapy because everyone on reality tv has a therapist and I was having a tough time dealing with life during that first year of COVID. I told the guy about how overwhelmed I was, and he suggested that I put the kids down for a nap and have some time for myself and said I should keep a gratitude journal. I just nearly needed therapy to deal with this man’s terrible advice. Never tell a mother that the answer to any of her problems is to put her kids down for a nap for some “Me time.” That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I guess the cat litter is going to empty itself and that laundry is going to fold itself. And if I want to be told to keep a gratitude journal, I’ll watch Oprah for free instead of paying for someone to tell me to do that. Needless to say I didn’t stick to therapy for very long.

So then I thought maybe I’ll write about the history of Thanksgiving. I did a little reading on the old internet and got downright confused. There was this harvest for the Pilgrims that was very plentiful, so they had a three day celebration to thank God. The Wampanoag came to see what all the ruckus was about, and the Pilgrims invited them to join in. As I read more, I came across the fact that millions of Native people were enslaved — starting from back when Columbus came to the new world. I don’t know if we just skimmed over that in history class or what, but I feel like I was completely unaware of that fact and I’m sorry I didn’t have enough time to learn about it thoroughly enough to write about it here.

My house does not have a pantry. It is sometimes cause for great frustration, because I can’t organize my food. Over the weekend, Michael put up a few shelves on the wall and I was so excited to organize my stash of groceries, which had been hidden away in an old bookcase for some time.

As I checked the expiration dates, I had to throw a lot of it away. I felt ashamed, because I actually throw out a bunch of food every week, though I put it outside for whatever varmint wants to wonder into the yard and eat it.

As I was throwing all this food out, I thought about the Pilgrims. There they were hundreds of years ago, feeling thankful enough for a three day celebration, because they grew some corn or something and didn’t die in the process, and here I was dumping food into the trash because I was fat and full for so many days in a row that I wasn’t hungry enough to eat canned chicken noodle soup or jello. It makes me think I might be better off fasting instead of feasting this year. But I do so enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey, so I think I’ll just try being much more grateful for the food I have access to and start respecting the bounty enough not to waste it. I think that is as good a Thanksgiving lesson as any.

At least I can say for certain that not one ounce of sweet potato casserole will spoil here in my house on this Thanksgiving Day. It’s like Mama says— waste not, want not.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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