In our helter-skelter lives, Thanksgiving dinner with the family is good for the spirit as well as the belly

Many of us, myself included, seldom are fully engaged in a given moment because we’re always in a hurry to move on to something else. Consequently, we skim along the surface of life. We exist in the topsoil of life and never seem to have the time to get to the root of the matter.

I guess we’re all prisoners of our hyperkinetic existence.

This Thanksgiving do yourself a favor and push the pause button on your life, at least for a few hours. You can hit the fast-forward button again on Black Friday.

In the interim, expend your voracious appetite on turkey and all the trimmings. Watch some football. Try to enjoy your family. Experience some serious jubilation. Savor some serious reflection on how fortunate we all are to be Americans.

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In fact, leave it to Americans to invent a holiday that is a terrific time to get stuffed on food, drink and football. I’m surprised more of us don’t suffer cardiac arrest on Turkey Day.

No wonder the Pilgrims themselves didn’t eat pumpkin pie. You don’t have to be a stuffy historian to know the Pilgrims were straighter than 6 o’clock on your watch. They were so uptight they even wore belt buckles on their hats.

Suffice it to say they would have been shocked to see Berks Countians treat gravy as a beverage. My one aunt had a gravy bowl so gigantic they could have used it as a swimming pool liner.

I had an uncle who could inhale so much food at one Thanksgiving sitting his digestive tract seemingly came equipped with a threshing machine. His large stomach would have made for a great buffet table.

Berks County folks are a stout breed. We may lose manufacturing jobs and some farmland, but we never lose our stomachs. On Thanksgiving, we can make our belt buckles snap with the best of them.

What I love most about Thanksgiving -- besides the food and the football -- is the tradition. In our family, we have a rich tradition of sharing the labor. The women have been doing the cooking for the past 40 years. And they are scheduled to do it for another 40.

Then the men take their turn and wash the dishes. With a large family, a robust Thanksgiving feast can leave a pile of dishes stacked higher than the Pagoda. One of these years we’re going to wise up and call in the local fire company to hose down the plates before we all pass out, feeling as if we had swallowed Berks County.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody, and don’t choke on a drumstick.

And don’t forget to thank God for all the bountiful blessings our families and country have been graced with.