Local Schmocal by ZoŽ Abel — Why not admit, before the craziness of Black Friday and malls that are open 24 hours straight, that we do, in fact, have things to be thankful for?

I'd like to wish everyone a belated Thanksgiving. That's right, I said Thanksgiving, not Gobble Day, or Turkey Day. There's nothing wrong with the word Thanksgiving. It doesn't need to be made more politically correct, it's not offensive to any group that I can think of off the top of my head and there's certainly nothing wrong with giving thanks.

Gobble Day just sounds silly, and Turkey Day seems to rejoice in the wrong thing. Of course many families celebrate by eating turkey, or Tofurkey, but that's not the whole point of the holiday. Otherwise I'd love to celebrate a Twice Baked Potato Day and I'd really like to get a holiday from work to observe a Day of Bacon. Why not admit, before the craziness of Black Friday and malls that are open 24 hours straight, that we do, in fact, have things to be thankful for?

I am thankful to have a job and a family that allows me to lay on the couch and watch "Dr. Doolittle" rather than pitch in to help cook. I am thankful that I have warm clothes to wear, and thankful that groups exist in my town to distribute warm clothes to those that don't have any. I am thankful for my turkey, and thankful for the food bank. I appreciate the roof over my head, and I'm glad I live in a community that has organized emergency shelter for the coldest nights of the year. As I say thank you for my good health, I am also thankful for the hospitals and doctors and nurses who are available to those who need them.

One of my favorite things about living in Ashland is the Festival of Light. I love the magical feeling of walking or driving through downtown when the building and trees and lampposts are lit up with thousands and thousands of twinkle lights. To go downtown the day after Thanksgiving is amazing. I love the collective gasp of the parade watchers as Santa Claus turns on all the lights at once. This is the magic we can all be thankful for, something beautiful and free and available to everyone in town.

Thanksgiving is our last chance to try to truly appreciate what we have before we become bombarded with ads for things we just can't live without. My son, Silas, feels like life just can't go on without an expensive Lego set, and I caught myself today wishing for a pair of gold hoop earrings (I've lost two pairs already this year). We'd both like Santa to leave us a nice little orange kitten, and even as I write this Silas is muttering about how much he'd like some candy.

If I take a deep breath I can remember to be thankful for the silver hoops I haven't managed to lose yet, and be glad that I'm not vacuuming up cat hair all day. Silas can breath easy knowing that there's some ice cream in the freezer, though I don't think he'll ever learn to accept that he already has more than enough Legos to supply the state of Rhode Island.

So before you make your Christmas list, or go shopping, take a few deep breaths. Remember how much we have and the many gifts our town already has to offer. Why celebrate turkeys and gobbling when the world, and our very own community, is full of things to appreciate and be thankful for?

Zoë Abel is still sleeping off her yearly dose of turkey. She's thankful for her full belly and warm bed. You can contact her at dailyzoe@gmail.com.