Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! Today, my sister SG, B, and I are in Virginia with B’s family celebrating our good fortune and hard work. My favorite thing about the holidays is the opportunity to practice old and create new traditions. A few years back, my dad started a new tradition of serving a community meal at his church. B’s family always listens to Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant. SG loves to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For some reason, I always associate Thanksgiving with Walt Whitman’s poem O Captain! My Captain! My dad had me memorize it in the first or second grade – not sure why but I’m sure it made a cute party trick – and I’ve taken to reading it every year around this time.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!O the bleeding drops of red,Where on the deck my Captain lies,Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father!This arm beneath your head;It is some dream that on the deck, You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!But I, with mournful tread,Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
What are your Thanksgiving traditions?