About a quarter of a century ago, on the day before Thanksgiving when I was a fourth-grader, I got a retainer. As a fairly nerdy kid already, I did not figure a retainer added at all to what limited social cachet I had. Besides the social effects of wearing a retainer, there was one other effect of wearing a retainer that made life less enjoyable, and that was the fact that getting my retainer put in kept me from being able to eat solid foods for several days. This proved to be particularly irritating from the start, as food is one of the ways I tend to enjoy life and company, a habit that was established fairly early in life and has continued to this day.
As it happens, as the next day was Thanksgiving, it happened to be a particularly unpleasant Thanksgiving. For one, it was Thanksgiving in a very large group of about twenty to thirty people, at least, in the house of a fellow member of our congregation who happened to live nearby where I grew up, in the area north of Plant City, Florida only a few minutes away from where I lived. With a lot of food and a lot of people around, the fact that talking was not particularly easy and being limited to eating strained turkey like a senior citizen (of which there were quite a few), mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, or the filling of pumpkin pie because I could not even eat the crust.
Needless to say, it was not a particularly enjoyable Thanksgiving. In fact, it may have been my worst Thanksgiving ever, by far, given the presence of so many people and so much food that was simply impossible for me to enjoy. Basically, that sort of frustration is what tends to make the difficult times of life very difficult, by bringing us close to that which we cannot enjoy. In life, sometimes we have to recognize what it is to be thankful for, and also know what sort of struggles we have that prevent us from showing and feeling the sort of gratitude we ought to. It is a tremendous blessing to have a Thanksgiving meal with friends even if one is far away from family . Whether we appreciate Thanksgiving for its history or its themes , or the enjoyment of good food and good company, let us all find enjoyable stories to share gratitude in a world where gratitude is in extremely short supply.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: