Commentary

November 26, 2013

This Thanksgiving focus on what really matters

Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. C. Lipphardt
62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — If you want the perfect Thanksgiving, remember this: what time you eat doesn’t matter, the table setting doesn’t matter, who wins the football game doesn’t matter, and most importantly, the food doesn’t really matter. What matters are the shared moments with our friends and families, and the warm memories that will live on in those around us. Very often, these memories are born in the ashes of turkey failure and side dish catastrophes.

Think about your most memorable Thanksgivings. If you’re like me, not a single “Norman Rockwell” holiday comes to mind. Actually, some of my most treasured memories are of Thanksgiving imperfections, calamity and complete culinary failure.

The two Thanksgivings I’m most fond of were far from “perfect.” During the first, I was young and a winter storm knocked out power all over the city. I’m sure my grandmother had visions of a flawless family meal for 20 people earlier that morning. However, when we all went to bed that night, her creativity with candles, heating cans, potted meat and leftovers from the fridge left an indelible mark on all of us.

My second came while deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. Every soul there longed to be home with his or her family, but our camaraderie would help get us through the emptiness and create a lifelong memory. There were 150 Americans at our location but we were on a NATO base and Thanksgiving wasn’t a planned holiday. If we wanted a Thanksgiving, we had to make it ourselves, from scratch.

And we did.

Unfortunately, to our dismay, the European ingredients resulted in “unique clones” of our recipes. Everybody brought something to the table that their grandmother probably wouldn’t have fed to the dog, but the laughter and shared experience is something none of us will forget.

The American writer Albert Pike once wrote, “What we have done for ourselves alone, dies with us; what we have done for others and the world, remains and is immortal.”

Remember this: what’s on your table isn’t nearly as important as what’s sitting around your table. The human bonds of friendship are what we remember most, not how good the turkey tasted or whether the stuffing was just like Grandma’s. A dose of failure mixed with a dash of resilience and a big smile is the real recipe for Thanksgiving perfection.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays!

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — In our increasingly secular world, there is a growing misunderstanding that it is safer to say “Happy Holidays” during the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza season, than to name the specific holiday which you or most other people celebrate. I am always drawn to explore these interesting dilemmas. I once read a...
 
 
Richardson_pict

Down and out at Dyess: Air Force Assistance Fund to the rescue

It was scary, leaving home and joining an organization such as the United States Air Force. The people, job, and location were all brand new. When I joined the military, I came from a less than honorable home life.  I come fro...
 
 

Asking for help is sign of strength not weakness

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Growing up I was a big fan of Muhammad Ali. He was the world heavyweight boxing champion and unashamedly referred to himself as “The Greatest.” I vividly remember a reporter asking Ali, “When did you know that you were ‘The Greatest?’” Before Ali could answer, the reporter offered, “Perhaps it was...
 

 

“Little people like you make Christmas better”

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — “It’s little people that make the difference. Little people like you.” The fictional character Frank Shirley pitched his “little people” Christmas message to Clark Griswold in the 1989 movie “Christmas Vacation.” Although demeaning in a comical way, the little people reference is seen over and over in classic Christmas stories. Litt...
 
 

Thanksgiving and our Native Americans

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — On the fourth Thursday of every November, we as Americans celebrate the national holiday Thanksgiving. This day focuses on honoring the early settlers, and their harvest feast, which we know to be the “First Thanksgiving.” However, long before settlers came to the United States’ East Coast, the area was inhabited by...
 
 

Keep safety in mind when cooking Thanksgiving feasts

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.  Every year hundreds of Americans die, thousands more are injured and roughly $500 million...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin