Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Heaven, Hell, & Thanksgiving

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.



  1. Kit Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family.

  2. "Heaven is here on earth too." Love it! And bless you for adding two more plates on your table to feed people, even though you don't know them that well. Happy thanksgiving!

  3. Yes, bless you for adding two more plates to the table. Last year when our friends invited us, I was hesitant since I am not accustomed to being with non-family on holidays but it was a wonderful time. They actually invite everyone who doesn't have family to share the day with, so its a gathering of at least 20 of us.

    Like you I don't get caught up on the historical roots of the day. It's a great time to reflect and give thanks for what we do have. Since as I like to say if you woke up in your right mind with a roof over your head, some food in the fridge and even have some loved ones...hell you are blessed.

    Have a great holiday.


  4. JJBrock, MzRepresent, Thank you and I wish you the same.

    MacDaddy, yep, she often said that. She was a good woman. Thank you and may God bless you too.

    Shay, "Like you I don't get caught up on the historical roots of the day. It's a great time to reflect and give thanks for what we do have.

    Feels good too. BTW, it can be really neat to watch how other folk's and their families do Thanksgiving. I also usually walk away with one good recipe. :)

  5. Keep It Trill,

    The kind of radical autonomy that tries to separate Thanksgiving from its Pilgrim roots is the same kind of radical autonomy that can separate black Americans from their slave roots. Are you sure you want to take this route?

  6. Thanks for sharing your beautiful attitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Jackie & Cammie, Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

    Thordaddy, My answer will surprise you and others. It's too long and too deep to bury in the comment section of this post. You'll see it early Friday morning.

  8. Hope you have a great Holiday! I am so happy you are willing to open yopr home to others, many do not and it is nice to see the real meaning of Christianity through actions.

    God Bless!

  9. "Johnny Got His Gun"?
    I hated that movie.
    (Saw it after Metallica had it in their video "One")
    I couldn't even imagine being so isolated.
    I think that's why these blogs are so popular (People can "talk" to people with whom they can relate).

    But that aside.
    I hope your Holiday is filled with joy.

  10. John, the book was amazing, but I read that the film sucked (which you verify) and deviated from the book a lot, especially where they changed the ending.

    Enjoy tomorrow too.

  11. Happy Big Bird Day! I never like him! Anyway have a Happy Day!
    I wrote something Funnie!

  12. If my daughter say that pic of Big Bird on a plate she'd die. This was a very nice post Kit, way to go bringing it home about just what this holiday can and should be about.

    Before reading this I was just thinking of the many holidays I spend alone and depressed when I lived in the midwest and fresh out of college. That shit sucked - nobody should be alone for the holidays.

  13. Rippa, Whew! Big Bird is the oven and I'm taking a break! My CPR is a lil' rusty but she'll be aight :)

  14. Happy Thanksgiving, Kit!

  15. Damit, I have to get a new watch. This CP time is killing me. Oh well, I am on time for the early Friday post. But wait, your early might be my late.

    Anyway, I am standing by. Yep, with my "b" standing @ attention *wink*

  16. What a beautiful post, Kit. I hope you'll let us know how the dinner went. Did the two who didn't know each other seem like they'll stay in touch?

  17. Karen, Thank you.

    Carey, Nigga, folks gonna think we have a thing going on! Well, I just uploaded a new post, and hopefully that will satisfy your intellectual boner. *wink*

    Macon, One of the guests didn't show, but this was alright. The day and dinner was nice, but this day was a catalyst for change. I wrote about it in my Sunday post today.

  18. *lol* @ "Carey, Nigga, folks gonna think we have a thing going on! Well, I just uploaded a new post, and hopefully that will satisfy your intellectual boner. *wink*"

    Ouuuuweeeee Kit, I love it when you talk nasty to me :-).

    I am off to the new post. Yes sir, I need another bump of this.


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