Joe Skura

Joe Skura

I can still remember being a young boy, assisting my grandmother in the kitchen – setting the table and helping with odds and ends – during Thanksgivings of the past. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television, my grandfather cracking some type of joke and that feeling that it wasn’t just another day.

Although so much has changed since those years, Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday. I feel so blessed with so many things, and it is the holiday where all revolves around the family sitting down for a delicious dinner. I appreciate that.

These days, I’m the (hopefully) fun uncle, as I’m blessed with two nephews and a niece, and they make every holiday gathering a blast. I’m blessed that my grandmother is still with us, and I reflected upon that as I helped her put up her Christmas tree earlier this week.

While hanging the ornaments, I could almost hear the conversations that had taken place within those walls over the years. I also thought about all that my grandmother, my parents and family continue to do for me as I live this life a day at a time.

Counting my blessings, I’ve got a warm home, food in my fridge, and individuals who help me with all of this and let me know they are there. I’m truly blessed with friends and family I wouldn’t trade for anything, a rewarding job and a life that I so appreciate.

My Sunday School students were quick to write their blessings last Sunday during our Thanksgiving lesson. These youngsters didn’t hesitate to write “Jesus, church, Mom and Dad, food, home,” and their family members’ names as we talked about being thankful. I noted quickly that it wasn’t the “Xbox, iPad, or video games” that they wrote on the paper, and that made me smile.

I took a few moments to think back to those “simpler” days of my childhood. I’m a relatively young man, but my childhood days were definitely simpler than those of my niece and nephews and the youngsters in my Sunday School class.

We didn’t have smart phones and iPads, social media, or all of the technological advances they have today. Without those, the quiet moments before, during and after the holiday gatherings were extra special – no distractions, but also a quiet and stillness that didn’t require a check of our social media feeds or looking at our inboxes.

I’m still thankful for so much – and I know I’m not the only one. The social media aspect has been a blessing in many ways, too.

As I posted on our Gallitzin United Methodist Facebook page on Monday to find some angels to provide Christmas gifts for a local family. It took only a couple of hours before individuals stepped up to cover gifts for the entire family. There were more than enough people willing to help, and that is a tribute to the kind of people I call neighbors.

While I’m no longer that young boy with the same innocence, I still really enjoy the magic of the holiday season, that special feeling that the world stops for holiday gatherings, and that extra special warmth that exists (thankfully) in my family.

We’ve definitely got our share to critique these days, but I prefer the counting of those blessings – at least for Thanksgiving! 

Joe Skura is a freelance contributor who writes an occasional column for The Tribune- Democrat.

Joe Skura is a freelance contributor who writes an occasional column for The Tribune- Democrat.

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