I couldn't resist.
So much for Big Bird. Now for the serious post:
I read a news story this morning of a 23 year old who became totally paralyzed after a car wreck. Couldn't walk, couldn't talk, couldn't move, couldn't respond. He was deemed to be in a permanent vegetative coma for the next 23 years. Now, at 46, it's come to light that his mind was alert all along, thanks to a neurologist, who listened to a persistent nurse who listened to the family, and did state of the art testing on him.
This case reminded me of the story, Johnny Got His Gun. It was written in 1938, and about a soldier who served in WW1. After an intense battle, he later awakened to a nightmare where he found himself without legs, arms, or the ability to make sounds. I think he might have been blind too, but he wasn't paralyzed, could hear and bang his head up and down. The docs thought he was a vegetable too. Aside from the wretching loneliness, at night he dreaded the mice that would crawl into his bed and nibble on him.
His moment of recognition that his mind was intact occurred when someone on the medical staff realized that he was trying to communicate with his head banging using Morse code.
Later, and I don't recall this part but it's written in wikipedia, that he had a wish to travel the world in a glass case so people could see the horrors of war. No surprise that he didn't get that wish. Unlike the real life paraplegic story, "Johnny" had no family or friends that I recall, and his mind just faded away.
As my mother used to say, hell is here on earth.
Extreme isolation from communicating with others, to not being able to be around safe people or places is surely one form of hell.
This Thanksgiving, if you have extra space at the table and ample food, and know someone who would enjoy spending a little time with your family, think about inviting them. They may not be your age, or attractive, or healthy, or good in conversation and making merry, but including a person like them gives truth to what Thanksgiving has evolved into for many people.
We know the sordid side of this day's historical roots, but so what? I'm just not that bitter about all those thugs involved back then who've been dead a few centuries now.
In my mind, Thanksgiving Day no more belongs to Pilgrims any more than Halloween belongs to whatever folks were involved in witchcraft. I long ago gave both wacked out groups the boot and claimed those days for myself, like a lot of Americans have.
Now Christmas - for me, that's different. Got my beautiful Nativity scene up every year, to hold on tightly to the true meaning, and it's right next to my Christmas tree because that's pretty and it's fun.
This Thanksgiving, we'll have two extra chairs for two extra folks who have no family to celebrate with, and so broke that when I last saw them, they were leaner than this summer. They don't know each other, and aren't people that close to me, but they're happy to have an invite and we're happy to have them over.
As my mother also used to say, heaven is here on earth too.
I wish you a blessed holiday, each and every one of you.