Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Comes First 2011

Dear Retailers, Television Networks, Radio Stations and major corporations:

With all due respect to the holiday, I am asking, actually I'm begging you, to please-- please, knock off the early Christmas chatter. It's only October, not even Halloween yet, but the red and green mall decorations popping up, the trees with shiny stars on top selling ornaments, the jingle bells, the random caroling over the loud speakers, and the increasing stream of commercials, all shouting Christmas, are just too much. It leaves me in a puddle of tears on the floor.

I realize I am not your problem, and I know the economy is rough, money is tight, and profits are at risk, but if you could grant this one request by holding off on "Decking the Halls", until December and remember Thanksgiving Comes First, I'd deeply appreciate it.

Thanksgiving is my great big family's very favorite holiday, one steeped in tradition and filled with meaningful heart-felt memories that we look forward to all year long. On this holiday, we come together as a family for fellowship, joyful conversation, wonderful food, and the opportunity to take time out of our busy lives to say thank you for all the things we are so blessed to have.

We look forward to this day all year long, as do countless other Americans, and it shouldn't be swept under the table, disregarded, minimized, or taken for granted just to cash in on Christmas.

But that is not why I'm asking you to hold off on your commercialized Christmas rush this year. My request actually comes from the bottom of my heart and a sincere need to protect and support my mother and family.

We are devastated over the recent passing of my sweet step-father, Dave, and this will be our first holiday without him. We need more time to heal and mend and prepare our hearts for a Thanksgiving without him leading our family in Grace at the dinner table.

Our hearts are still so very heavy and there is a layer of sadness in my family that is difficult to describe other than to say it is a sadness so deep that Thanksgiving, my step-dad's very favorite holiday, is too hard for us to imagine yet without him.

We started preparing for Thanksgiving months ago, well before Dave's passing. His famous Pretzel Jello Salad and Cranberry Jello were two dishes he planned to lovingly prepare just the way everyone likes them.

He was going to help move the furniture out of their living room so the dining room table could stretch all the way to their front bay window allowing our entire family, young and old, to all be around the same Thanksgiving table together. It's a lot of work but it was that important to Dave and he'd have gladly rolled up his sleeves and made it happen with the help of my nephews and brother.

I know Dave had been thinking about what he would say that he was most thankful for this year when it was his turn to share with the family. It's our tradition before dessert-- to always go around the table and not only thank god and our folk's for the wonderful meal but we also give thanks and verbalize something important to each of us from the past year. We'll never know what Dave was holding in his heart to share but you can be sure he is one person we are all deeply thankful for.

This Thanksgiving will be so difficult for my family, especially our Mom because very honestly, her heart has broken into a thousand pieces. It's obvious to see when the thought of life without her Beloved crosses Mom's mind. And now with so many retailers and corporations all but ignoring Thanksgiving and it's significance makes Mom and my family feel even more devastated by our loss.

We as a family are in desperate need of Thanksgiving and the opportunity to come together and remember the things we are thankful for. As we hold hands to say Grace before our meal I have no doubt tears will flow, but I pray that it is also a time to help the healing process and for us to remember not just our sweet Dave, but also the many things we have been blessed with and are thankful for this year.

So again I ask-- Please do not rush into Christmas yet-- Let Thanksgiving Come First-- for all the right reasons, and because my mom and family are not yet ready to face a holiday with one less loved one in our life.

Sincerely, Joanna Jenkins

It's time to roll the Thanksgiving Comes First boulder up the mountain of Christmas advertising that seems to inundate us earlier and earlier with each passing year. Click HERE to read Suldog's annual post then join in and help spread the word.

Get In Line

All I wanted was a small container of the Deli's sliced potato salad but it took me a full 13 minutes for my turn at the head of the line-- A line that, when I arrived, only had one, count 'em one person ahead of me.

What is it with grown men and women who think it's okay to cut ahead of people in line as if everyone else in their presence is invisible?

At first I thought I'd give the elderly gentleman who barged in and elbowed me out of the way a break because he was, well, elderly. But when I realized he was wearing tennis clothes and was perfectly fit, alert and well aware of exactly what he was doing, he had his sandwich and was gone.

When the Deli guy asked who was next, I raised my hand but another woman appeared out of nowhere. A few years older than me and dressed in her Sunday best, she looked me over as if I had the plague and simply stepped in front of me. So I pointed out to Her Majesty that she needed to "take a number" from the machine at the end of the counter. She did-- as she loudly placed her order, then returned and stood in front of me waiting for the counter guy to slice her turkey and swiss cheese.

Then, when it was almost my turn, a third guy with two wild kids in tow sashayed up and gave the "poor me, I have to babysit" look. The kids were bouncing off the ceiling and dad was clearly beat so the counter guy looked directly at Daddy Dearest and asked him for his order.

What am I-- chopped liver?!?

And so I waited and wondered if the potato salad was really worth it. I weighed my options and decided it would take more time to go somewhere else then it would to get what I needed at the Deli, but sheesh-- What is wrong with people! They know better right? Didn't we learn about not cutting in line around the same time we learned "take one and pass it on" in kindergarden?

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Richard Cote -

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Next Time I'll Be Sure To Ask...

Now firmly in my 50-something years, I'd like to think I've learned a thing or two-- important things-- life lesson kind of things, but at age 53, apparently I am still learning.

Countless times, literally hundreds in fact, I've flown on commercial airlines both domestic and internationally. Over the years, when given the opportunity to either sit squashed in a center seat or in an aisle seat anywhere else on the plane-- Aisles always win. I am not a fan of being squashed on airplanes.

But, the last time I flew back to Ohio to visit family, I learned a new lesson, and it's one I won't soon forget. Where that aisle seat is located should be of utmost importance when making an airplane seating decision.

Take my word for it, you never-- ever-- want an aisle seat in the back of the plane near the lavatories.

Simply put, an aisle seat in this area means you are either looking at butts or crotches throughout the entire flight as passengers wait in line to use the "facilities". And for some reason, it seems the vast majority of adult passengers all need to use the lavatory the moment the "fasten seat belt" sign is turned off making the parade of potty passengers seemingly endless.

And, if it's not an adult's body parts facing you while waiting in line, it's the angelic face of a small child with an oblivious parent. Said children are usually looking the aisle seat passenger directly in the eyes as they pick their nose and wipe it on your shirt sleeve.

But nose pickers aren't even the worst part.

People-- adults, actually-- in line for the Lav, seem to think it's perfectly okay to put their foot on your arm rest to tie their shoe, or worse, they put their foot on the arm rest of the person directly across from you thereby placing their unpleasant booty right up in your face. Given the choice, I'd prefer the nose pickers, thank you very much.

Yes, by age 53 I should have learned the "center seat always trumps an aisle seat by the bathrooms" rule. It's a lesson I won't soon forget. I just wish other passengers wouldn't forget simple common courtesies when traveling.


Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins