A tradition in my set, perhaps it might become yours.

The idea is to return Thanksgiving to its Protestant roots: a thanks for the bounty of the good earth, for the everyday blessings that go unremarked-upon, the wealth that God has seen fit to bestow upon us, and an unashamed enjoyment of the great agricultural benison of the Americas.

It is an extemporaneous toast, that is, of a set formula, but adaptable to the conditions of the company present: I've given it, or some version, in a standard middle-class household, a bohiemian artistic flat, and a respite house. This has been totally battle-tested, and not been found wanting.

This is the 2003 version, given in sparkling cider (the alternatives are zinfindel or hard cider -- or mead) the form and ideas are self-explanatory.

Greetings, to friends and newcomers, staff and patients.(pause) This is Thanksgiving, in the year 2003, and we have just heard the prayer of Miss Davies, it is time to think of the secular blessings of our current state. Look around you. Today is a cold day, grey and below 50 degrees. Yet we are in T-shirts, mostly. It is a dark day, and yet, we have light. We see a lavish spread before us. We know, that there is food in our pantry, enough to fill us for several days. Let's think about that for a minute. Then, let's think about our other blessings: we have, over and above the clothing we have on our backs, clothing in our rooms. Some of us may have more than others, but we all have enough clothing to go out into the weather, and at least one change, from head to foot. Let's think about that. Now, let's think about the other blessings we have: the carpets under our feet, the cat that shares our rooms, the perfumes, and soaps, and other personal care items we own, or share, the books and tapes we have, the fact that we can, with merely a few pushes of buttons, be entertained, informed, involved, with the greater world outside. Messengers, made of energy alone, have the power to bring your words to the furthest corners of the Earth.

Surely, we all live, every one of us, lives that the Caesers themselves would envy. And yet, we are all below the poverty level.

To our lavish, abundant, luxurious state, I toast!

And I hope your year be as healthy, as prosperous, and loving as it can be. Fall to.

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