Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


  THIS Year's Community Thanksgiving Celebration...

As I began writing this Thanksgiving post, my mind wandered back to last Thanksgiving Day. It was memorable, for sure. The day began at our neighborhood Thanksgiving Service, where Hubby was to give the Thanksgiving Address. We arrived early because we knew that seats would be scarce. Hubby's a pretty decent speaker, but he wasn't The Big Draw. The person the entire neighborhood would be coming to see was our own neighborhood miracle--Elizabeth Smart--who would be playing her harp at the Service.

Our neighborhood has never fully recovered from the fear and turmoil that enveloped us when
Elizabeth was abducted from her bedroom in June of 2002. Even today, when you drive through our neighborhood, you rarely see children out playing. Everyone has alarm systems that they actually SET every night. Our children have code words, and handsigns, and "safe houses" and every imaginable personal safeguard rule and device at their disposal. The relative "innocence" of our entire neighborhood was sucked away the night Elizabeth disappeared. And oddly, in addition to being thankful for Elizabeth's return, I believe that many of us were secretly hoping for some assurance from teenage Elizabeth that it was okay to be "okay" again.

Elizabeth--sweet, intelligent, talented, and lovely-- was clearly back. She was no longer that young girl in the picture on the telephone pole. Unlike most little girls who are taken from their families, she actually came back. It was a miracle. But even eight months after her return, it didn't all seem "real". We all wanted to see her TRULY normal, happy and well--and we weren't disappointed. After some opening remarks, Elizabeth went to the raised pulpit area where her Dad had placed her harp. With remarkable composure and charm, she played a jazzy arrangement of several Holiday favorites that had us all smiling and keeping time to the music. I told her mom after the service that I never knew a harp could sound like so many different instruments! It was delightful, and it all finally seemed real and "okay".

Then it was Hubby's turn. Tough act to follow, for sure. However, Hubby rose to the occasion and gave a wonderful address recounting the history of Thanksgiving in America as well as talking about the REAL meaning of the holiday entitled simply Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks. (Can't get this link to work. If you want to read the address, let me know and I'll e-mail it to you. It's a great historical resource. What can I say? The man's a Thinker...) At the end, when he spoke of Elizabeth's return, he and virtually everyone else in the church got choked up and teary. When Hubby was done, we sang a Thanksgiving hymn and went to join our respective families for Thanksgiving festivities.

That day began with such a remarkable spirit of Thanksgiving that we couldn't help but carry that spirit with us throughout the remainder of the weekend. And the neighborhood seems to be breathing a little bit easier since. And so today, I caught myself wondering for a moment if future Thanksgivings might not seem ever-so slightly anti-climactic in comparison? Then I realized that what made last year unique for me is that Thanksgiving is usually a very PERSONAL holiday--and last year it was a COMMUNITY day of celebration. Different? Yes. Better? Not necessarily.

This year, as in other years, I have MUCH to be thankful for. And I do believe that what I will remember as being unique about this year's celebration will be that 2004 was the year that I discovered the wonderful world of Blogging! I'm not kidding. I was late out of the chute--didn't know about blogging until I heard it mentioned during the DNC in July. But the internet friends I have made over the last few months have truly been a highlight of my year. Yes, I'll be thankful for all of the same things I'm always thankful for along with a few other new items on my list. But as trivial as it may sound, I am certain that years from now as I look back at Thanksgiving's past, 2004 will be remembered as "The Year of The Blog" for me. And what a year it's been!

Thanks so much to all of you who come and chat with me, and who provide me with an endless source of entertainment on your sites. I am truly Thankful for all of you this season. And interestingly, as I look around at my favorite blogs many of them seem to be saying the same thing--Which I guess makes this my second "Community Thanksgiving Celebration" in a row. I am truly blessed....

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