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This week’s edition!

Enough is Enough: This Thanksgiving, focus on the family, not the stores

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Thanksgiving is upon us. It used to be a time for family get-togethers around the dinner table where the enjoyment of eating, conversation, relaxation and the warmth of family resounded throughout the entire house.

There were also the high school football games played in the morning hours. Arch rival against arch rival. When the game ended, you were thankful if your team won, but even more thankful if you made it home without being pummeled by supporters of the losing team.

In many homes, dinners are scheduled so that football fanatics can maximize their intense passion of the professional football games during Thanksgiving afternoon and early evening.

But throughout four-plus centuries, Thanksgiving has radically changed. Originally the day was set aside to thank God for the blessings he had bestowed upon his people and the abundance of produce harvested from the land.

With the passing years, more emphasis was placed on family get-togethers. I suspect that the high school games played on Thanksgiving morning may possibly have come about to limit the distractions faced by those preparing the holiday meal. With the coming of television, the market was right for the introduction of professional football.

While one group sits around the TV set watching the game, another gathers around the table engaged in light conversation. Although there may be two groups, they are family and friends engaged in conversation, relaxing and enjoying each others company.

Yet even a family get-together can become a cold, lonely place, thanks to modern technology. Tweeting, Facebook, X-Boxes and video games, in which depravity is increased with each successive game, talking on cell phones and playing with invisible friends now supersedes real face time.

Now we have allowed Thanksgiving to change from a time of thankfulness to God for our blessings and a time where families put aside a day to relax and become reacquainted to nothing more than the day before Black Friday.

Black Friday, the day filled with retail bargains galore. Stores open at ungodly morning hours. Customers crowd outside the doors, anxiously waiting for them to open in order to swarm through the store like a bunch of angry bees. Fighting may ensue over the last available sale item.

Once cashed out, they will return to their vehicles to press on to another store. Those in charge of the store will hope their business will surpass last year’s sales figures. But at what cost?

The family’s time together will be reduced, and in some cases there will be no gathering at all. Family members will have to forego either part or the entire day because of their job. Others will be more focused on the store sales than the day itself.

It seems the principles of Ebenezer Scrooge have overtaken the good-hearted principles of old Mr. Feziwink. All at the expense of the family.

Thankfully we are still providing places for the poor, destitute and the lonely to seek warmth, comfort, companionship and a meal. Soup kitchens, restaurants and Veteran Posts give them the chance to experience the original intent and meaning of Thanksgiving Day.

To those who will celebrate the day with your entire family, enjoy the day. I hope you will continue to be together on future Thanksgiving Days. To those who sit down at a table in which family members may be missing, let’s hope next year everyone is there and to all a very happy Thanksgiving.

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