My uncle used to call it “Turkey Day” instead of Thanksgiving, no matter how often my grandmother would correct him. For him, it was all about the bird, with just a little love left over for all the trimmings. Unable to wait at table, he would pop in during a basting session to grab a bit of crackling skin for “quality control purposes.”
Now I’m not one to shun the bird myself, but I do like the idea of taking time to say thanks, and so I call the holiday by its proper name. This year it’s looking more like Thanksgiving season or Turkey Month. After I wrap up at the station today, I’ll be helping out at a community dinner in Potsdam featuring the traditional fare, and on Saturday I’ll be helping out at another feed for international students. Then next week it’s off to the Boston area for the annual family feeding frenzy. Three times the bird, three times the thanks–my cup runneth over.
Eating together with a crowd is one of the best ways of being human. I’ve spent way too many meals in front of a screen, shoveling takeout from a styrofoam box, untasted, as I click delete, delete on junk email. Makes me want to say “Bleep, blorp.” Workplaces can get pretty dehumanizing.
But I’ve been noticing things this week that work against the trend. Dogs, for example, can do a lot to humanize a workplace. Hard to be wound up tight while scratching a dog belly. And babies–holding a quiet baby for a few minutes is better than an hour-long nap for easing stress. And eating together, whether at work or out with colleagues, takes everything down a couple notches.
At a meeting yesterday, I heard about a local accounting firm that has a great workplace food tradition. A couple people take turns making lunch for all their colleagues on a regular basis. The rest pay a few dollars a head per meal and that goes into a kitty. Once a year, they get together to choose service organizations that will split up the year’s take.
Among the many things I have to give thanks for this year (besides dogs and babies), I give thanks to them for this great example of a humane workplace, and thanks also on behalf of an organization I work with that has benefited from their largesse.
Safe travels, happy tummies and serene spirits. Listening Post will be back December 5.