Talking turkey

Scarcely an American household has escaped the Thanksgiving tradition of polling the room to encourage everyone to share her most thankful thoughts. The question What are you thankful for? must be individually addressed before the bird may be released into the waiting bellies of friends and family. If you wanna eat, you gotta talk turkey.

I shared some of my list here last year, so I thought I’d do it again and call it tradition. In no particular order or sentence structure:

  • I love being able to share humor, insight, and goofy tidbits with my son on an adult level. He’s growing up fast, and those secret smiles when he “gets it” mean the world to me.
  • I swoon over my daughter’s gregariousness. She lights up everything around her.
  • I am overwhelmingly humbled by my kids’ capacity to forgive my quirks and parental failures. I wish I didn’t have to accept that gift so often.
  • I have a house that’s warm, a car that works, a closetful of clothes, food in my cupboards, and the ability to share my fortune with others. How often I take these cornerstones of my life for granted!
  • Witty rhymes and practical jokes–I love them.
  • Black licorice. Even the smell sends me to a happy place.
  • Really good books.
  • Pancetta. It goes with everything.
  • A hot shower after a hard run.
  • One particular shoulder to cry on, no matter what the topic.
  • The respect of others.
  • My relationship with each of my parents is often complex and certainly not storybook, but I am who I am because of their (often divergent!) influence. And even though I’m a highly independent, middle-aged woman, they still help me out A LOT.
  • The smell of fallen leaves.
  • My own personal cheerleader.
  • A good glass of prosecco. Or two.

I was in a crappy mood when I started making my list and wasn’t sure what I would be able to squeeze out. Once I got rolling, I found it hard to stop; I’m still adding to the list in my head. Crappy mood or no, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for–and I’m not just talking turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

You’re welcome

You’re welcome. We don’t think about what those words really mean when we casually drop them following an expression of gratitude. In fact, in many cases we don’t even say them at all. We’ve replaced them with phrases like no problem, sure, and even yep. While I certainly appreciate the acknowledgement, I wonder if we’re selling short some of the sentiment behind the words.

You’re welcome. A polite response to a preceding thank you, it means you are welcome to my time, my hospitality, my effort, my service, my thoughtfulness, or whatever action prompted the words in the first place. When I think about it, you’re welcome really carries a lot of weight. Or it should, anyway.

As an alternative, my pleasure appeals to my sensitive side, too. That phrase is even more straightforward. It means whatever I just did to earn your thanks, I was glad to do it for you. What a nice thought.

I use no problem and sure just as much as anyone. There are many times when the thank-you-you’re-welcome exchange is purely ritualistic and even a well-intended grunt would suffice. No one would notice.

For the times when it does matter, though–and those times occur more often than you think–make those words mean something. If you’ve handed me my food through the drive-thru window or completed a transaction at the teller window, for example, don’t say no problem. Of course it’s no problem! You’re getting paid to do it. Make me feel appreciated instead. Tell me I’m welcome to the service you just provided or that it was your pleasure to do it for me. If you really mean it, I’ll be a lot more likely to come back.

Thank you for reading this post. (And now you say…)