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Thanksgiving Wishes and Wishbones

With the holidays at hand, cheers to “family who are friends and friends who are family.” (My favorite Irish toast.)
Cheers “To alcohol! The cause of — and solution to — all of life’s problems.” (Homer Simpson’s favorite toast.)
Meanwhile …

Cheers to long friendships, and to tall drinks,
Cheers to the fortunate, the homeless, the shrinks.

Cheers to the leftovers, long may they live,
Cheers to the charities, long may we give.

Cheers to old treasures, the candles, the ladles,
Cheers to our dogs cleaning up under tables.

Cheers to the blush in the trees, the crisp of the turkey,
Cheers to the kids coming home — Boston to Berkeley.

Cheers to our guests, the orphans, the light,
Cheers to raiding the fridge at midnight.

Cheers to your childhood … the street where you grew,
Cheers to old classmates and the snowballs you threw.

Cheers to the Lions, the Cowboys, the Colts,
Cheers to anyone who can find my remote.

Cheers to pumpkin spice, on-time flights and fun,
Cheers to the pastors, the rabbis, the nuns.

Cheers to the thighs, the wings from the gobblers,
Cheers to the grandmas, the grandpas, the toddlers.

Cheers to Irving and Atwood and Twain,
Cheers to the Beatles, Boz Scaggs and Coltrane.

Cheers to the gravy, the stuffing, some pheasant,
Cheers to a day we can live in the present.

Cheers to the Christmas lights, the shopping, the clatter,
Cheers to your dad, half drunk on a ladder.

By the way, extra big cheers to “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” a movie that has done for Thanksgiving what “It’s a Wonderful Life” did for Christmas.
My buddy Bekkala believes that the most-satisfying scene in movie history is the one of Steve Martin and John Candy lugging that trunk down a snowy street. He also points out all the little touches director John Hughes used throughout. “Yes, the devil is in the details, but sometimes so are the saints,” my friend says. Amen.

Cheers to Pie Town, New Mexico … Lick Skillet, Tennessee,
Cheers to the places we’ll roam, you and me.

Cheers to Uncle Burp, the cousins, their mates,
Cheers to the casseroles, the stuffing, Catty Cakes.

Cheers to the principals, the teachers, the cops,
Cheers to the nurses, and docs who wear Crocs.

Cheers to adulting, the children, the kids,
Cheers to high horses, low-riders, long bibs.

Cheers to the mothers destroying the kitchens,
Cheers to their helpers, the basting, the bitchin’.

Cheers to the touchdowns, first downs and quick passes,
Cheers to that silver-haired girl in thick glasses.

Cheers to the dude who cut me off on Van Nuys,
Cheers to the tailgater who hopes that I die.

This year, I’m cheering everyone — the rude, the lewd, the simply misguided. Even the sanctimonious scolds who dismiss Thanksgiving as a misplaced celebration of colonization. Forgive them, because they have no context, no sense of manifest destiny, or the courage that it takes to explore.
To me, Thanksgiving represents tolerance, gratitude and appreciation. Ultimately, it is our melting-pot holiday. The very first feast was a milestone, a template … the first time families shared recipes, rubbed elbows … laughed. On Thanksgiving, we should all “try to be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.” (Maya Angelou)

Cheers to lost loved ones we’ll always remember,
Cheers to the close friends we’ll see this December.

Cheers to the beers, the bourbons, the rums,
Cheers to antacids, Alka-Seltzer and Tums.

Cheers to big causes and people who care,
Cheers to cold places and long underwear.

Cheers to the quiet, the awkward, the shy,
Cheers to the extroverts, the braggarts, the pie.

Cheers to all of us, our differences don’t matter,
Just accept and forgive — and please pass me that platter.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Email the columnist at Letters@ChrisErskineLA.com. For past columns, books and holiday gifts, please go to his website ChrisErskineLA.com.

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