So many things mark the change of seasons. Returning to the Midwest after many weeks of travel, the last brightly colored leaves of fall are covered with the first ice of winter. Travel included many trade shows and conferences in that busy sales season between summer and the end of the year. All of the events are good for learning about new products, new opportunities and networking. My favorite event was the Heavy Movable Structures symposium held in Orlando at the end of October. It is a very focused group of owners, engineers and suppliers that live in the specialized world of movable bridges. As trade shows go, it is not a large event. But it was easy to find a connection with everyone that attended. We discussed recent projects, common colleagues, products that we liked (or disliked), along with new opportunities. It is amazing that one can glean something beneficial from every conversation. Even sitting down at an open table to eat with a stranger led to common interests and new connections. Check out the HMS organization at https://heavymovablestructures.org/.
This week strangers will be sitting down together for another reason as the change of seasons heralds an annual event that touches all of us. I’m talking about Thanksgiving. Local churches and charitable groups are busy organizing community dinners for individuals who find themselves in difficult circumstances or who are without family. Those of us blessed with family are likely getting ready to travel or making preparations to celebrate the holiday at home. It seems like with the passing of every year though, this holiday seems to fade and get lost amongst Trick or Treat and Merry Christmas.
Before life gets too busy with the retail ramp-up vying with the religious basis for Christmas, it is good to pause and take a moment to remember how the holiday started and say thanks for what we have.
This year the national holiday we call Thanksgiving 2018 occurs on Thursday, November 22. But the very first Thanksgiving happened in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Despite the negative, war-like tone of many of today’s news headlines and the often ugly politics, there are many reasons to celebrate and practice an attitude of gratitude. Especially when it comes to the family members and friends we share our lives with. These are the people we celebrate the joys of life with; and who support us when the going gets tough. We all need to stop for a few minutes this week and thank God for giving us the people that make our lives better, the jobs we have, the houses we call home and the food we’ll soon be enjoying.