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Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:38 PM

Thanksgiving 2012

“Thanksgiving” means different things to different people. Some will be gathering with extended family, and others will be alone. Some believe the Pilgrim myth; others are aware of the Native American history; still others understand that all agrarian societies had some form of the feast/festival; and some are focused on “Black Friday.”

My younger son, a student at SUNY-Binghamton, also works in human services. He did a “double shift” today, and will do another tomorrow. He told me about a phone call he had today. A lady in crisis called his workplace, although she was not connected to its services. She lives alone with her pet cat. Two years ago, her adult son died around this time. She was feeling helpless and hopeless. She told my son about the hardships she had faced over the years.

After taking the time to hear her out, my son said that he was impressed: the average person could not possibly have survived the harsh experiences that she had. She had far more strength and survival skills than most people. Those comments changed the lady’s perception of herself, and gave her confidence that she could deal with this “holiday.”

As their conversation came to a close, the lady asked my boy if he was a priest? No. Well, maybe a monk? Nope, just an average person. I told him that, for the hour he spoke with her, he served as a priest or monk ….but not to get too big a head, because he had been talking to Jesus. (Though neither of us are “Christians,” we both know that to be true.)

The period from Thanksgiving to Christmas can be very hard for many people. It can bring up painful memories of loss. I think of a close friend who was murdered on November 22, 1978. I remember the frustration I felt, because although their identity was known, the group of men who killed him faced no legal consequences. And I think of other family and friends, who I used to share this season with, who have passed away.

Earlier this week, I spent some time preparing for a sweat lodge ceremony. In decades past, I could gather the rocks, firewood, and water in a couple of hours. But at my age, it takes me a heck of a lot longer. But I’m thankful for that, because I also have more time to enjoy all that goes into the preparation.

I was thankful for the oak, the maple, the hickory, the beech, the white pine, the blue spruce, and the locus trees that provided the wood. I was thankful for the grey flint, the white flint, and the red sandstones I found. I was thankful for the water I brought down, especially for that which served as drinking water. I was thankful for the bag of tobacco, the sage, and the sweet grass that I made into a braid.

I always enjoy filling the birdfeeders, and feeding the fish in the pond near my sweat lodge. I enjoyed watching a couple of my dogs running circles around me, even when one snatched one of the antlers out of the lodge and made a game out of returning it to me.

Two of my friends stopped over in the late afternoon for the ceremony. A week earlier, they had come over in the early morning, so that we could weave the stones and water together in a ceremony while the sun rose. This time, the sun had already begun to set; we were thankful for the warmth of the fire as the stones were heated. And, to be honest, I was thankful for having the young man there to carry the heated rocks to the lodge, as I had gathered quite a few large ones.

During the ceremony, I focused upon some of the things that Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman had taught me, way back when I was the young man. To be thankful for the earth, the stones, the water, the air, the plants, the animals, and for our family and friends. To be thankful for everything, including what we think of as good, bad, and everything in between. To be thankful for having had the opportunity to know and love those who we miss and mourn today. To be thankful for this moment in time, this day, and our chance to participate in this ceremony we call “life.”

Onah.
H2O Man

56 replies, 3513 views

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Arrow 56 replies Author Time Post
Reply Thanksgiving 2012 (Original post)
H2O Man Nov 2012 OP
niyad Nov 2012 #1
H2O Man Nov 2012 #6
Suich Nov 2012 #2
H2O Man Nov 2012 #7
NYC_SKP Nov 2012 #3
H2O Man Nov 2012 #8
NYC_SKP Nov 2012 #20
CaliforniaPeggy Nov 2012 #4
H2O Man Nov 2012 #10
southernyankeebelle Nov 2012 #5
H2O Man Nov 2012 #11
southernyankeebelle Nov 2012 #36
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #9
H2O Man Nov 2012 #14
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #12
H2O Man Nov 2012 #30
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #38
greytdemocrat Nov 2012 #13
H2O Man Nov 2012 #31
countryjake Nov 2012 #15
H2O Man Nov 2012 #32
hootinholler Nov 2012 #16
H2O Man Nov 2012 #34
w8liftinglady Nov 2012 #17
H2O Man Nov 2012 #35
Zorra Nov 2012 #18
H2O Man Nov 2012 #39
brer cat Nov 2012 #19
H2O Man Nov 2012 #40
dwp6577 Nov 2012 #21
H2O Man Nov 2012 #41
JDPriestly Nov 2012 #22
H2O Man Nov 2012 #42
jerseyjack Nov 2012 #23
H2O Man Nov 2012 #43
sheshe2 Nov 2012 #24
H2O Man Nov 2012 #44
susanna Nov 2012 #25
H2O Man Nov 2012 #46
bigtree Nov 2012 #26
H2O Man Nov 2012 #47
beveeheart Nov 2012 #27
H2O Man Nov 2012 #48
Smilo Nov 2012 #28
H2O Man Nov 2012 #49
AnotherDreamWeaver Nov 2012 #29
H2O Man Nov 2012 #50
myrna minx Nov 2012 #33
H2O Man Nov 2012 #51
Wind Dancer Nov 2012 #37
H2O Man Nov 2012 #52
CrazyOrangeCat Nov 2012 #45
H2O Man Nov 2012 #53
itsrobert Nov 2012 #54
malaise Nov 2012 #55
Me. Nov 2012 #56

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:43 PM

1. thank you for this beautiful post.

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Response to niyad (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:00 PM

6. Thank you.

I was hoping that some folks here would like it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:44 PM

2. That's beautiful, H20 Man!

Thank you very much!

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Response to Suich (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:02 PM

7. Well, thank you!

I appreciate that!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:45 PM

3. There is no "Thanksgiving Day".

Just be thankful for every day.

Every moment. Take a breath, be grateful, no proud.

There is no singular day, or hour, or moment. Your post says as much, Waterman.

Good post but I get a bit tired of having to wait for this kind of thing for 12 months.

Peace.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:04 PM

8. I agree.

However, considering that my wonderful wife likes to prepare our Thanksgiving meal, I do view tommorow as special among days. I do like my own cooking, of course, but prefer her's.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:38 PM

20. But that I might, one day, be a guest or hers or of your family.

But for now I can only wish you all happy victuals and the best of the holiday season!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:45 PM

4. Thank you for this moving and thoughtful essay, my dear H20 Man...

It is beautiful and obviously you have given it much thought, in much the same way you've lived your life...

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:08 PM

10. Thanks, Peggy!

That's an advantage of old age -- having plenty of time to sit and think about things.

I always appreciate your taking the time to comment on my posts here! You are one of the DU Gems that I have the most respect for.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:58 PM

5. My deceased father-in-law used to say Good morning, and I would laugh and repeat it.

 

Then he would say "any day you wake up in the morning and put your feet on the ground is a good day". He of course was right. Every morning I think about that saying and say Thank you lord for another day of living. It's what you do with it. Sometimes just trying to cope with family health issues or the kids trival things. But at the end of the day you find you made it through. I know there are alot of lonely people during the holidays. I try and keep some of the old family traditions when I was a little girl. Plus now I start a new tradition with our granddaugther. Because her half brother goes to his daddy's every other weekend I will this week pull out our little christmas tree and decorate it with her grandpa. She just loves doing that. Today her and I made our stuffing balls. I got our biggest bowl and cut up 2 loaves of bread. Put all the mixes in it and I look at my 6 yr old granddaughter and told her to start mixing. She loves doing that job. As we were mixing I looked at her telling her we are making memories. She looked at me with the 6 yr old look and she how. I told her when she got older and would make this stuffing she will remember her and I making this dish and she will in turn will share that with her grandchild some day. She just smiled. I sure remember doing things with my Nonna when I was very young.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:09 PM

11. Beautiful!

I love it. And thank you so much for adding what could easily be an OP onto this thread!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:50 AM

36. Your welcome friend. Hope your Thanksgiving is a enjoyable day with your family.

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:04 PM

9. Beautiful post. A lot to think about. I live such a selfish life!

Do I do anything for anyone? Not really. I need to change that. (I contribute to animal charities and have two rescues myself.)

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:13 PM

14. I suspect that

you probably do a lot more for others than you give yourself credit for. Those who are really selfish are never aware of it -- quite the contrary, they feel justified.

And animal shelters and "rescues" are very important, in my opinion.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:11 PM

12. Wise words

And happy thanksgiving to you too.

As to the myth, like all myths there s a grain of true...and it does not involve pumpkin pie.

(Primary sources point to a three day, maybe feast, with plenty of wild fowl.)

Alas t's nothing like that...myth.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:33 AM

30. Yes.

Those parts are true. But the myths are that it was the "first" Thanksgiving, or the first "declared holiday" of Thanksgiving for Euro-Americans (which, as I've documented on DU before, came when a governor declared it, to celebrate the destruction of a Native community, and theft of its winter food supplies).

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #30)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:47 AM

38. I know, and this is the problem with how us history is taught

Mostly...as nice clean little stories, with the nasty bits taken out.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:11 PM

13. Very deep.

Like an Old Growth tree.

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Response to greytdemocrat (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:36 AM

31. Thank you.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:13 PM

15. Thankful for the good, bad, and everything in between...

Thank you, H2O Man, for sharing these thoughts with us today...it's something I especially needed to hear these days. Peace to you.

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Response to countryjake (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:38 AM

32. Thanks.

Hoping that you & yours have a good holiday weekend.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:17 PM

16. Perhaps not always, but certainly often...

You provide the exact nourishment the soul that is I needs.

For that I have great respect and love towards you.

May Mother Earth hold you to her breast and Father Sky watch over you.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:48 AM

34. Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:21 PM

17. Beautiful.

Blessed day to you all.
I will be distributing meals to Tarrant County residents.....then I'm off to mom's!

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Response to w8liftinglady (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:49 AM

35. Very good!

Thank you for distributing the meals, and I hope you & yours have a great time!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:33 PM

18. Yes.





Wanishi Anishi.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:34 PM

39. Very good!

Thanks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:36 PM

19. This makes a lovely way to start our holiday of Thanksgiving.

Thank you for taking the time to share this message with us.

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Response to brer cat (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:35 PM

40. Happy Thanksgiving

to you & yours!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:51 PM

21. during my time on this site, H20 man has been a sage!!!

Thanks and Happy thanksgiving, wonderful solstice to you.

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Response to dwp6577 (Reply #21)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:40 PM

41. Well, thank you!

I've been lucky, in that I had some mighty smart mentors (and sometimes tormentots) when I was young. Now, I just repeat things they taught me. I'm not particularly smart myself, but I do enjoy the opportunity to pass on the lessons I've learned.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:04 PM

22. Thank you H2O Man. So beautiful. So well stated. Thank you.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:41 PM

42. Thank you, JDP!

Happy holiday to you & yours.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:23 PM

23. I'm pretty sure I am older than you and I'd like to carry some of the stones next time.

 

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Response to jerseyjack (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:51 PM

43. You are welcome here!

My children assure me that I am the oldest living creature on earth, and suggest that National Geographic might want to run a story on just how old some of my thinking is. I'm not entirely sure they mean that as a compliment.

Years ago, I was in an ugly auto wreck -- the victim of a fellow chatting on a cell phone. Crushed back, etc. Much surgery and two years of PT later, I was up and walking on unsteady feet. There were times it was frustrating.

One of my doctors told me a story -- kind of crude, but I'll repeat it here: There were two bulls on a hill, overlooking a pasture filled with beautiful cows. The young bull said, "Hey! Let's run down there and f__k one of them cows!" The old bull said, "Let's walk down, and f__k them all!"

Now, either you or I could carry those rocks in. But that wouldn't be fair to the younger guys. My son, for example, is an amateur heavyweight boxer, preparing to turn pro in the spring. He needs the exercise. More, he'll benefit from doing ceremony with two old bulls.

(Let me know, any time, if you can come here.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:27 PM

24. Thank You H2O Man

That was truly a beautiful post!

"To be thankful for this moment in time, this day, and our chance to participate in this ceremony we call “life.”

My family and I are celebrating this ceremony we call life. Our Nephew was returned to us just a few days ago. After a serious accident and 25 days in the hospital and rehab he is home! He is with us again. It will be a time of Joy.

I wish you peace in this world and in this life.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,
She


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Response to sheshe2 (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:53 PM

44. Wow!

I'm so glad to hear the good news about your Nephew! (My post just above notes my own experience with an "accident," too much surgery, and PT.)

Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. I wish you & yours the best!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:30 PM

25. This is a lovely post and filled with wisdom.

Thank you for writing and sharing it.

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Response to susanna (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:12 PM

46. Thanks!

Chief Waterman was on of the Six Nation's most respected "Wisdom Keepers." My sons wrote a book about him last year. I often think that if most people in this country, if they were exposed to people like Paul, would realize that the United State's "leaders" are not the best alternative that is offered.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:42 PM

26. To be thankful

Thanks for this . . . recommended.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #26)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:13 PM

47. Thank you!

I hope that you & yours are having a great holiday weekend.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:49 PM

27. Thank you, H2O Man.

I was deeply touched by your words and wisdom.

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Response to beveeheart (Reply #27)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:14 PM

48. Thanks!

That means a lot to me. Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:08 AM

28. H20 Man - you and your son

are beautiful people.

Thank you for letting us in on your lives.

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Response to Smilo (Reply #28)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:17 PM

49. Thanks!

I'm mighty proud of that boy. Growing up, he never thought that he'd want to get into social work .... I'm a retired social worker, and my wife (his step-mother) is a full-time social worker, who teaches part-time at the local state university. But he's finding that the education is worthwhile, and the work has unique rewards.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:16 AM

29. k&r, Thank you H2O Man for the Sweat Lodge reminders/memories...

It's been a while since I participated. Will listen to the Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony broadcast over KPFA tomorrow morning, (kpfa.org) then gathering Chestnuts and sharing a meal over at friends.

Best Wishes and Many Blessing to you and yours,

and all our relations,
ADW

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Response to AnotherDreamWeaver (Reply #29)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:21 PM

50. Thank you, ADW!

I am lucky that a group of young folks -- school teachers and social workers -- enjoy coming over for a weekly sweat. They are also becoming politically active. They help keep an old scruft like me going.

Hoping your weekend is going well. And chestnuts sound pretty good.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:40 AM

33. Thank you for your beautiful essay.

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Response to myrna minx (Reply #33)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:23 PM

51. And thank you.

I'm pleased that people enjoyed it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:37 AM

37. Beautifully written!

Thanks for your words of wisdom, H2O Man.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful day.

K & R

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Response to Wind Dancer (Reply #37)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:24 PM

52. Thank you for

that, and I hope that you are having a good holiday weekend.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 06:20 PM

45. Thanks for this, H2O Man.

There are quite a few reasons I have come back to DU after several years; your essays are very near the top of the list.

Your words strike many chords. Peace to you and yours.

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Response to CrazyOrangeCat (Reply #45)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:25 PM

53. Glad you are back.

And I'm glad you like my essays.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:30 PM

54. Thanks for your posts

One day I may finish reading it without crying.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:35 PM

55. What a lovely post

Happy Thanksgiving Waterman

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:48 PM

56. So A Dog Did What Most People Can't

Outsmarted you. I am thankful for the little laugh that gave me, Humans at there best are a work of sheer genius and it is they who have smart dogs.

Now...where is that Petreus thread of yours that several people told me about?

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