Thanksgiving: The Smallest Things


The time for remembrance and the giving of thanks is fast approaching. Since the whole holiday of Thanksgiving was founded from some pretty dire circumstances: starving Pilgrims, uncertain relations with the people who really owned the land, the possibility that other representatives from England (or Spain) might show up at any moment and ruin the party—it certainly must have been a rough time to clap your hands together and shout “yippee” or “hurrah” or whatever- the-heck they said in glee back then. Probably the free turkey helped. Since the holiday originated from such a big thing, I think it’s only human nature to be thankful for BIG stuff: that gall bladder problem that turned out to be only gas, the new car, Aunt Millie passing away without cutting you out of the will, you know—the really big stuff.

I’m not putting the whole holiday down, but what I’m really thankful for is the small stuff—the stuff you should be thankful for 24/7, 365 days a year. Like the Philtrum.

The what? The Philtrum—that little divot underneath your nose. Not a lot of thought is given to that small scoop in our flesh (and certainly not enough thanks), but think where you’d be if you didn’t have it! The Philtrum is what catches that little bit of soup off the spoon so you can enjoy it later at your leisure. I don’t even want to think what would happen to all that mucous when you have a cold if there wasn’t a good-sized canal in your face directing all that traffic. The Philtrum performs a sort-of holding action till you can wipe away all that unpleasantness—sort of like the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, if you get my drift.

Next on my list when I get down on my knees are grommets. Once again, a small little divot. Our shoe leather would be a mess without the good ‘ole grommet guiding our one-and-a-half shoelaces to their proper destination. If you think I’m missing the spirit of the season, think where a mainmast sail on a boat would be without some grommets! Halfway to Port Aransas, that’s where. Whoever invented the grommet was a genius.

Speaking of genius—disposable diapers. Nothing more needs to be said there.

I have a theory that the original Turkey Day pilgrims suffered from low self-esteem. Sitting there on a roughhewn log, wearing that silly hat and having those square-buckle shoes staring up at them, think how much more self-assured they would have been if they were using those little plastic corn cobs to hold that hot, steaming chunk of corn that Wampanoag handed them. Those little hairs in your nose that tell you it’s too cold to walk the dog, straws that are the right size for the Big Gulp, real catsup in a bottle instead of those stupid packets—the list goes on and on! It’s the small things!

Now, we all know that Americans, especially Texans, like everything Big. Big car, big hair, big bank account. Super-size me, jumbo-dog me, gimmee-two-for-one-me all day long and with daylight saving’s time I get more-of-the-day-me. But, how many of us stop to realize that all of that would mean nothing without that itty-bitty 0.3% of potassium in our blood. Why, our organs would fail, our teeth would drop out, and we’d drop dead and then Uncle Tommy would get our wide-screen HD TV.

So, no one would ever accuse me of turning down an extra-large pizza with extra cheese, extra sauce, five items and the meat-lovers option, but this Thanksgiving I’m giving all my thanks to the smallest things in life. They are what truly make the world go round. Speaking of “making the world go round”, how about gravity? We can’t hardly measure it but it makes everything happen—including making this old skin sag. Okay, okay—I take that one back. I can do without the gravity thing—but God bless those disposable diapers!

An essay by Daryl Buckner

Copyright © 2013 daryl buckner

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