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24 November 2016

There probably isn't any other holiday that engenders so much anxiety as Thanksgiving. If it isn't the turkey, it's the relatives. And then there's Black Friday looming, which sounds more like a historical massacre than a day of discount shopping.

A Piece of Pie. Captured at f4.5, 1/40 second and ISO 800 with a Canon PowerShot G10 in 2008.

We Americans just don't know how to have a good time. You wonder if these two days shouldn't be renamed more accurately Black Thursday and Happy Friday.

Pie helps, though. It does.

We all want a share of the pie, we say. Just a sliver for some. "I'll just have whatever's left in the pan," some relentlessly jovial relative will no doubt joke after the first piece is removed.

Pumpkin or pecan? "Both!" is the traditional reply for those of you who are newly arrived.

Pumpkin or pecan? "Both!" is the traditional reply for those of you who are newly arrived.

Top it off with a swirl of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And grab a clean fork.

We are unquestionably in favor of growing the pie. On that we all agree. We'll all get a bigger slice that way, we firmly believe.

But we don't gather at Thanksgiving to celebrate pie.

Or air grievances or compete with siblings as if we were still children (unless, of course, we are and can't help ourselves) or fight with our parents (ditto) or blindfold our kids and turn them around until they're dizzy (that's a birthday thing).

Come to think of it, we don't gather to reduce the nation's emergency supplies of scotch, gin, vodka, beer and wine either. Or to fall asleep watching the Detroit Lions again.

We gather to express, as a group, our gratitude. For friendship when among friends, for family among family. And if we're alone, nothing stops us from taking a second to exhale and be thankful for life itself.

It may be difficult to feel grateful out of the blue. We're not in the habit. Hence the holiday, we suspect.

But if you're quiet for a moment, you will inevitably remember those who are no longer around to hear you say you love them or feel that big hug you always saved for them.

Thinking of them, we promise, will make being grateful this year as easy as pie.

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