Let us give thanks

It’s been one hell of a year. American democracy is being looted for parts, the Doomsday Clock is officially two and a half minutes to midnight, and my entire industry is busy doing what three-ring circuses do when the tent catches on fire.

On reflection, this is probably the darkest timeline. But that’s no excuse for ingratitude. Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on life’s gracious blessings — like existence, and whiskey, and the fact that for the time being, it’s still illegal for debt collectors to come to your house and physically break your kneecaps.

In the spirit of the holiday, and in defiance of the greater narrative, here are a few of the things I’m grateful for this year.


– There are zero rats under the sink. Our pet rat, Olive, decided to go on walkabout last week while I was cleaning her cage, and set up a nice new rat apartment in a crawlspace under our bathroom sink. I spent several sleepless nights in fruitless vigil on the bathroom floor, trying to tempt her out from under there with bits of toast. Luckily for Olive, I finally managed to get her before the cat did.

The fact that the crawlspace opens up onto a hole in our kitchen ceiling did not help. While her little whiskery face peering down into the kitchen was, on some band of the electromagnetic spectrum I apparently have receptors for, adorable, there was something disconcerting about it. We will all enjoy Thanksgiving a little more this year, secure in the knowledge that at no point will a furry little body fall from the ceiling and land with a plop in the green bean casserole.

– I am not a vegetarian. As a young person full of high-minded ideals, I spent a decade’s worth of Thanksgivings doing the traditional dance of my people, which involves hovering over the turkey with a wistful expression and wondering aloud whether it would be cheating to have just a little piece of crispy skin.

No more. Having known so many Thanksgivings that revolved around turnips and potatoes, I now greet the prospect of gravy with boundless joy. This year, I intend to make up for lost time by eating an entire turkey leg and passing out on the sofa.

– All of the men in my life are optional. Perhaps you’ve heard on the news lately: Men are cancelled. But a lot of them are grandfathered in, so it’s going to take awhile.

In this very column, a few weeks ago, I was perturbed by the Harvey Weinstein news and the wave of #MeToo sexual assault and harassment revelations that followed close behind. I predicted it would blow over by Halloween. This is proof, if you needed any, that my career prospects as a futurist are not too bright. The stomach-churning sewer pipe of news about everybody’s favorite men just keeps on flowing, and at this rate is threatening to spoil not only my upcoming turkey dinner but the Christmas pie too.

Let it be known, for the record, that I think men are delightful, to the extent that people are. Some of my favorite people are men. My appreciation of men has been vastly enhanced by the fact that I don’t answer to any particular ones on a daily basis, either personally or professionally. I can walk away any time, pal.

– There is wood. Most of you probably buy firewood, if you buy firewood, in some sort of straightforward transaction. You call a guy. You give him some money. He gives you some wood. My firewood supplier operates more holistically. She appears unannounced on my front porch three or four times between August and November, like some sort of swearing flannel-clad fairy godmother of the BTU, and demands that I get my car out of the driveway so she can back up her dump truck and make it rain. Every year, I get nervous, and wonder if it’s actually going to happen.

Well, it has arrived. Now I have to stack it.

– Uma Thurman. ‘Nuff said.

Lissa Harris is the former editor of the Watershed Post. She lives in Margaretville with her wife and daughter. Send her Catskills news tips at lissa.e.harris@gmail.com.