For so many people, November seems to be the favorite month because of Thanksgiving. Perhaps it is because despite whatever personal angst we experience, it still carries the reminder that we focus on that holiday on something we can be grateful for.

The public reminder and insistence that we can find something that reminds of the importance of gratitude in our lives prompts good feelings and appreciation. These are emotions that may need reinvigorating in stressful times and reflecting on what is good gives November a special place in American hearts.

What makes Thanksgiving special for you?  Click here and tell us.

P.S. Favorite menu choices and recipes welcome!

Thanksgiving is one of my two favorite holidays (the other being Passover). I get to spend it with my favorite people including Thelma Reese, founder of ElderChicks. For years my family has gathered at Thelma and Harvey’s home (and for a few years in California instead), looking forward to good food, great company, wonderful conversation, some games after we eat and a feeling of love. It is a very special day of the year for me, and I am grateful that I am able to spend it in this very special way. We have lost some of our family and friends over the years, and we always remember them as we begin our celebration, but again, we remember them with gratitude that they were with us. So November is definitely a good month.

Ah November, sweet November. Once the leaves start to turn, the weather chills and the days grow short, so does the year. For me, November signals the slippery, downward slope to the end of the year.

When I wore a younger woman’s clothes it was the beginning of the most chaotic period of the year. There was the Thanksgiving meal to plan, shop and prepare. It was the beginning of a festive time; lots of entertaining; a full table on Thanksgiving Day; good food, good family, good friends gathered around a loaded table.

Now, those days are behind me. Does that make me sad? No, not at all. Now I can relax while others scurry and run. Sometimes Thanksgiving Day is still a festive gathering of family and or friends, but I get to sit in a comfy chair; be waited on and catered to by people who love me. And, there are also times when it is a solitary day. A Cornish game hen perhaps instead of a turkey; store bought pie instead of home made; and yet even those times give me much for which to be grateful.

In my eighth decade, like St. Paul before me, I have learned to be content with whatever life brings my way. I have been a struggling single mom; I have been a wife (twice); I am a grandmother and a great-grandmother. I still enjoy robust health; I have enjoyed great prosperity and some pretty lean times; I have a store house of memories I can bring out when I need or want them; I am blessed beyond measure and grateful every day, not just once a year.

In the dark and dusty corners of my mind there is a vault filled with glorious living, technicolored memories of 21 lb stuffed turkeys and many hungry, family and friends awaiting the carving knife’s artistry. The 10 lb country ham at Christmas bedecked in cloves, pineapple and the cherries the kids snatched when I wasn’t looking. I sift through all those wondrous gatherings…memories abound. Now my table sits bare, my Christmas card list gets shorter and presents under the tree are sparse, but in my mind’s eye I still see and feel the cheery, bustling and excitement of those gatherings I have hosted. I wrap these memories around me as I prepare my 2 lb chicken with all the trimmings, smiling at all the yesterdays I have been privileged to have. My only problem is how do you make a cranberry relish for one!

Life doesn’t end at a certain age unless we close our minds to what is out there. At 79 I seem to have to look for spare time due to family and there is a side of me that has to squeeze in my own time. Due to glaucoma I find my evenings too free so I thought “time management” had to be manipulated to a reversal of schedule. Many household chores can be done after dark. Unfortunately community events are hard to ask for rides but when necessary I think why not? My Bucket list is one goal I need to not put off.