Real Thanksgiving, Real Gratitude

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

The other day, Chelsea and I were talking about Thanksgiving and our favorite dishes. Then we started thinking about the real meaning of the holiday and were humbled.  We live in a country where we have freedom. We can choose whatever we want to prepare or eat out. We’ve blended some family traditions to make holidays special.

We’re fortunate to still have family with us to hold close in our hearts, especially on special days. I’m grateful to live in the Brazos Valley and to have a family to be with each holiday. We’re lucky to live in a community where folks spend their holidays preparing and serving meals for those who would otherwise go hungry. I’m grateful for all who serve our country, now, as in decades past. I’m grateful for organizations that remember families with deployed soldiers this holiday season.

Gratitude. It begins every day we wake up. It’s our day to make our best. We’re surrounded by people whose smiles make our day special. Friends, old and new, we’ve mean so much to us. I’m grateful for their friendship.

Our beloved animals have it right—they have unconditional forgiveness if we forget to spend quality time with them. They’re always happy to see us come home no matter what. Each day we can set a goal to be better people. I’m grateful for new chances.

Most of all, I’m thankful for my relatives, the generations before me. Because of them I’m here, in 2017, growing our business. I’m surrounded by more extended family in the team we’ve built here. They’re at the top of my list of things I’m most thankful for. I’d like to know what you’re thankful for this year, too.

For so many years the Texas Aggies played a “certain school down the road” on Thanksgiving Day. It was a tradition. My grandfather never missed an Aggie game. He even provided the ambulance that stood ready at Kyle Field to transport injured players to the hospital if needed. He was a quiet man most of the time, or at least a man of few words. But, when the Aggies were playing Texas, he was one loud, rabid Aggie fan. I guess that’s where I first learned how to yell (not cheer, but yell) for the Aggies. I’ve been doing it ever since.

Today’s Thanksgiving holidays for the Aggies include watching someone else play football on Thanksgiving itself but this year we face a strong opponent in LSU on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That leaves the tradition of the Thanksgiving Holiday Parade at Macy’s in New York City. For so many years growing up, I remember that being on the TV in the living room when the adults were all gathering very, very close to the kitchen, hoping to be called on to taste various dishes in their stages of preparation.

As children, we all got sent outside to play, and we needed no encouragement to do that. We were glad to be off from school and as Texas fall seasons are pretty mild in comparison, we could run around and wear ourselves out having fun. At the time, of course, none of thought about what all that family time spent together would mean to us 10, 20, and 30 years later.

Time is the most precious commodity we can give each other. It’s a hour, an afternoon, a day, a weekend out of our lives when we’re young, but I can tell you from my heart, I’d gladly trade anything you asked me to spend just one more hour with my dad and my grandfather. I have so many questions I want to ask them, and they’re not here to answer them for me. What I continue to learn of them, what they thought, said, did, and how they encountered challenges that came their way, I’m fortunate enough to have stories from my Mom that she shared with me.

I think because our motto is “Life & Legacy: How Will You Be Remembered?” and every day I see that, think about it, and even in the prime of my life, I give serious thought to the answer. I am not one to waste time because I can spend that same time in a better use: with people I love and care about every day.

May this Thanksgiving be, for you and your family, one that brings you surrounded by the family you create—extended family made up of friends—neighbors, loved ones old and new, and perhaps there’s room at your table this year for a friend who might be celebrating their first Thanksgiving alone, without their loved one.

Many times, recent widows or widowers who don’t have children are not likely to ask to be invited as they don’t want to intrude into the holiday gatherings of others. No one wants to be a burden, so they just sort of hibernate away and don’t reach out. It’s up to us to anticipate a need and, if we can, wrap our arms around those who need extra friendship and love at the holidays.

If you’re entertaining senior relatives, remember that they may have lost a spouse ten to twenty years ago but they still miss their beloved spouse and want to reminisce a little. Gather your youngest generation around a table and let them here about a relative they’ve never met before, one they never got to meet, and before you know it, a memorable holiday will be marked, in your own special way. On behalf of our entire Callaway-Jones family and team, Chelsea and I wish all of you a memorable, blessed, happy Thanksgiving!

Cody D. Jones ‘02

Owner & Community Member

×