For as far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I have fond memories of going to my grandparent’s home in east Texas and enjoying some the best southern Thanksgiving food traditions like cornbread dressing, candied sweet potatoes, purple hull peas, fried okra, and more desserts than you could ever eat. So good!
Of course, the best part of that time was sitting with family and sharing stories, taking long walks, and enjoying time together. While my grandparents have been gone from this earth for years, I especially remember them in the month of November.
This year, we’ll have two different celebrations – one on the day and the other the following week as additional family members arrive here in Arizona. We will be visiting family here so we won’t be the hosts but I still plan to cook. In fact, several dishes are already prepared with more on the way.
As we prepare for our first Thanksgiving no longer in a stick and brick home, I have so many thoughts running in my head about the idea of giving thanks. Some of my family and friends will be working over the holiday in stores, restaurants, and hotels, while others will be serving the public as police officers, fire fighters, military, and medical workers. All thankless jobs, especially this time of year, when priorities seem to have somehow shifted from spending time with family to focusing on the best deals we can get for Christmas. This brings me to my thoughts about it all.
Seven months ago, we sold almost everything we’d accumulated over our 17 year marriage, in addition to anything we’d acquired before we met. We had three garage sales, eBay and Craig’s list postings, Salvation Army pick-ups, and giveaways to family, friends, and strangers. What we once believed to be items we couldn’t live without were practically gifts to whoever would take them. We came nowhere near making what we originally spent on these things. And, yes, they were just things.
Our small, climate-controlled storage unit holds only the items we felt had any sentimental value to us. The rest was history. Everything else we own goes with us in our truck and fifth wheel.
I have nothing against anyone who wants those retail bargains, in fact, I’m glad you’re out there so others can have jobs. I only know our priorities shifted when we made the decision to go full-time this year in our RV. Our needs are fewer.
I would be lying if I told you I didn’t occasionally feel the need to purchase something I see that I couldn’t live without, but my practical voice kicks in to remind me we are limited in our 387 square feet of space.
Instead, I might take a photo of the item to look at later. But more times than not, I simply walk away, something I struggled with for more than 17 years. Why? Because an empty shelf needed something sitting on it to dust later, a wall begged for something to be hung there, and an empty hanger had to have a new item placed on it.
I count my blessings this Thanksgiving because for the past seven months, my husband and I, along with our two dogs have had the time of our lives. We’ve marked off more items on a bucket list than we ever dreamed we could. We’ve seen all of our children and grandchildren, some multiple times, when that might never have happened over a normal year. We’ve reconnected with family and friends we had not talked to in years. And we’ve enjoyed the breathtaking beauty of this great country we call home. On a personal note, I’ve taken more than 10,000 photos along the way, doing my best to capture our experience so that we can look back and enjoy our memories for the rest of our lives.
We have no idea how much longer our RV experience will continue as we knew we could go for a year financially. But I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to spend this time, together, without a lot of things to get in our way. When we do finally settle down, the memories we take with us may need dusting off in our heads, but they won’t be sitting on a shelf. They will be alive in our hearts and minds to enjoy forever. No warranties. No batteries. No half-priced sales. No fighting with others because we just had to have them. They are already ours and we didn’t have to get up at midnight to purchase them.
So to you and yours, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving from the Arizona desert. A day filled with the joy and love of family and friends and the blessings of a life filled with great times and wonderful memories. Safe travels!