Thursday, November 26, 2009

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

The winner of a free copy of Mr. Monk in Trouble is Abigail Beal.

Four of Poe’s Deadly Daughters celebrate Thanksgiving or, as some call it, Turkey Day today in the United States; the fifth had a Canadian Thanksgiving in October. This holiday means different things to different people. Is it about the food? Or gratitude? A joyous family reunion? A nightmare dysfunctional family reunion? Is it a harvest festival? A political sore spot in the history of Native American/white relations? We’re sharing our perspectives, and we hope you’ll tell us yours.

Elizabeth Zelvin
As I grow older and I hope a little wiser, Thanksgiving is less about the food (though I do enjoy it, especially the season’s orange foods, like sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie) and more about being thankful. Among my many blessings, I can count the ones I cherish most on one hand: my two granddaughters and my two published mystery novels make four, and, hmm, my health? my happy marriage? the fact that my beloved New York City is still standing in this precarious world? the abundance in my life in spite of the lousy economy? my friends?

Okay, so one hand won’t do it. I’m thankful for the English language, its expressiveness and flexibility. I’m thankful I learned to touch type, even though in my day girls feared that typing would doom them to a lifetime of secretarial work. I’m thankful my parents encouraged me to read—and glad I had the guts to leave literary fiction and the New York Times behind and strike out for the wilder shores of genre fiction. I’m thankful for librarians and indie booksellers and readers—and for the Internet that keeps me connected with all of them as well as fellow writers. And I’m thankful for the warmth and generosity of the mystery community, with whom I sit around the virtual table to celebrate this day.

Lonnie Cruse

What does Thanksgiving mean to me? A time with family and a time to be thankful to have them with us. Two members of our family have birthdays in late November, so we celebrate those and we generally celebrate the Saturday BEFORE Thanksgiving. You know what? It always seems like Thanksgiving because of the wonderful smells wafting out of the kitchen, no matter whose house we celebrate at. On the actual Thanksgiving day, we often go to our oldest son's house for lasagna and a hot set of card games. They celebrate with his wife's family on a different day as well, depending on work schedules. Both days are special. Our lovely daughter-in-law says her friends are always amazed that her folks and his folks enjoy getting together to play cards . . . meaning that both families get along so well.

Besides family and friends, I'm thankful to live in a country where my dream of becoming a writer could come true. Where most everyone's dreams can still come true, if we try hard enough! I'm thankful for the many freedoms we still have. I'm thankful for good books to read, for a sun porch to sit on and watch the birds, and for the many other blessings my family and I enjoy.

Sharon Wildwind
I get the best of both worlds: two turkey days. Some of our stuffed animal collections is Canadian, and some American, and woe be it to us to not celebrate twice, least—horrors of horrors—the miss a day off to which some of them are entitled.

I don't usually say things like this in public, but here goes. Among many things for which I'm thankful is that no one is shooting at me. It's a hold-over from Vietnam. You can't imagine how wonderful a silence is that doesn't contain the sound of an AK-47 or the double thunk of an incoming mortar round being launched. I am grateful for every day of peace and wish that feeling could be extended around the world.

Sandra Parshall
I have to admit that it's difficult to find much to be thankful for these days, with our country still bogged down in war and so many people here at home struggling to survive economically. I can't help thinking of the families who have lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the parents who have lost their jobs and can't provide the necessities for their children, much less a festive holiday celebration. I'm thankful that my husband and I are not suffering financially or lacking health care coverage, but I can't forget the many who are not so fortunate. I hope all the PDD readers are with loved ones today, safe and secure and counting your many blessings.

Julia Buckley
On Tuesday, November 17th, my older son was struck by a car while crossing a street on the way home from school. He ended up with cuts and bruises, and he's still emotionally shaken from the whole experience, but obviously it could have been much, much worse. I can't even express how an event like this puts things right into perspective. I really don't have any big plans for Thanksgiving, other than to spend it with my husband and children and to enjoy their physical presence. When I went to the scene of my son's accident, I had to knock on the door of an ambulance and wait to be admitted. (There was another boy in there, too--my son's friend who had been crossing with him. He too escaped with minor injuries). I stood outside that vehicle fearing the worst, and when they let me see Ian he was a bloodied version of himself, with only one shoe (they never found the other) and soaked clothing. But he was sitting up and looking at me, and my relief was so great that I couldn't stop touching him that day--his arm, his hair, his back. He even let us hug him: first me, and later, his father.

Now things are almost normal again, except that it doesn't faze me as much if he fights with his brother or if he complains that reading The Odyssey is as "boring as balls."

The fact is that I was taking my family for granted, and I am not doing so now. I am thankful, thankful, for my son and for everyone else in my life, and this Thanksgiving I will remain in a state of grace.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I enjoyed reading your Thanksgiving memories and thoughts.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Lonnie Cruse said...

To my sister PDD bloggers, I'm very thankful for you all, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To our readers, thank you so much for your loyalty!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Elizabeth, and right back at you, Lonnie!



Abigail Beal said...

Hello :)

Oh I'm SO excited to win the new Monk book! Thank you so much! Looking forward to reading the new book - and the books that follow it!

:) Abigail