Thanksgiving is great, but why not every day? – Callagy Law
In 1918, Maude Walker was expecting her seventh child. They were not a family of any means.
The other six children, though, excitedly anticipated their new sibling.
Then, something went wrong. As Maude was giving birth to her son Thomas, she passed away from complications related to his delivery.
The oldest of the seven children was Anna Mae. She was twelve.
Her father didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t going to be able to keep the children.
Anna Mae, at 12 was old enough to help her aunt with her children.
Anna Mae, though, was heartbroken that her 6 brothers and sisters would be sent to orphanages, including her new infant brother Thomas.
Anna Mae vowed to somehow fix all of this.
Four years later, at the ripe old age of 16, Anna Mae met and married Andrew Lancellotti.
One by one, Andrew helped Anna Mae get her brothers and sisters out of the orphanages.
Imagine being 16 years old, having no money, and getting your six brothers and sisters out of orphanages and having them live with you?
Well, Andrew, a night worker on the rail road who was partially disabled, and Anna Mae had a three room apartment.
They had five children while they were helping Anna Mae’s brothers and sisters out of the orphanages.
Thanksgiving is about family, reunions, warmth, reflection, love, memories, traditions and all things good.
Thanksgiving has become one of America’s most universally beloved holidays.
It also stands as a day of thanks and gratitude.
For me, Anna Mae and Andrew were my great grandparents. One of their children is my mother’s mother, my grandmother, that I call Nonnie.
Because Anna Mae was so devastated to have lost her own family, family became the most vital part of their life.
One way that manifested is in the Thanksgiving tradition I still enjoy today.
Our tradition dates back over 90 years, to Anna Mae and Andrew.
Each year, for the past almost century, Anna Mae’s and Andrew’s family gathers together.
Typically, there are 70 plus people that get together. Each year I see everyone from my great Aunts, to the great grand children of my grandmother’s siblings.
That’s a lot of folks.
What, however, would Thanksgiving be without a little violence.
Before the actual turkey is served, the pre-dinner festivities culminate in the age old tradition of violence with all the children grabbing any weapon they can find to attack a giant chocolate turkey and smash it into pieces. This isn’t a piñata session. Every hyped up, sugar craving child hits this thing at the same time! Then, when the turkey breaks into hundreds of pieces it is a free for all for the chocolate spoils.
It is always fun to watch your five year old walk away with a two pound bag of chocolate, which they secretly try to consume for the rest of the day.
While the National Diabetes Foundation is calling child protective services right now, the tradition will continue!
All kidding aside, our version of Thanksgiving creates an amazing feeling of belonging, love, and, well, thanks.
We are all very thankful to Anna Mae and Andrew each year.
I wish you, your family and your loved ones an amazing Thanksgiving filled with all of the best parts of life.
I wish you more though, as well.
The world is full of amazing and special people.
It is also filled with struggles and challenges for everyone. Some people, certainly much more than others.
Simply put, the people I see every day that are the most happy and fulfilled are the people, like Anna Mae, who live with most gratitude and thankfulness in their heart every day, regardless of the circumstances.
Imagine being 12, your mother just died, and your father says, sorry, I can’t handle all this and you are going to live with your aunt, and your brothers and sisters are all headed to orphanages.
Think about the pain, the sadness, the sorrow, the hopelessness and all the rest.
Yet, look what grew out of that pain?
Almost a hundred years later, over a hundred decedents, including me, their great grandson, are still talking about them and trying to carry their legacy forward.
We live in a country where even those that are the least fortunate, and challenged, like Anna Mae, live far above the average in many countries throughout the world.
The challenges and struggles we have, including those that I’m embarrassed to say frustrate me day to day, would be the dreams of most other people around the world.
All of us, at times, can focus so much more on what’s not than what is.
If Anna Mae did that, I know my life would be very different.
So, while I believe that everyone is called to maximize and use all of their talents, I believe that the greatest way to do that is to constantly live with thanks and gratitude in our heart each and every day.
The people who do this best are the happiest, most magnetic and successful people in the world no matter what they have materially.
Thus, my Thanksgiving wish for you and your family is a year of contentment, no, BLISS and happiness based on being truly connected to and thankful for all of the amazing blessings we enjoy each and every day, not just on Thanksgiving.
For those of you going through deeply challenging or painful times, I hope and pray for your peace and that you are able to make it to the other side of your challenges as swiftly as possible.
Thank you Anna Mae and Andrew, also known as Grandma and Grandpa Lancellotti!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and loved ones!
In your service,
PS: To my Cavo brothers,
It’s been 26 years. 26! Yes 26 years since our Thanksgiving Day Championship! Are you kidding me?!
Well, we got Roy to play in a big game, and he came through with flying colors. I miss and love you all. I would love so much to be walking out onto the field together tomorrow one more time. Whether it be Cougar meet, Owls or Aviators, they wouldn’t have a chance! Have a great day brothers and Happy Thanksgiving!!