I’m not a big “holiday guy." I’m usually in bed before the New Year clicks over, I don’t wait for Christmas with eager anticipation like I once did as a kid, and I won’t drive far to see fireworks on July 4th. However, I do have a very special holiday, and Thanksgiving Day is a very big deal to me.
In my previous incarnation with another airline, I had the privilege of working in Paris on what originally was an open-ended temporary duty assignment in 1991. In the end, it wound up lasting about a month. That month happened to be November. I fell in love with France and was excited about working at a major European airport (at the time, you couldn’t see Sud Caravelles, Dassault Mercures, Tupolev TU-154s, and Middle East Airlines Boeing 707s together anywhere else but Paris Orly), but the work was the most stressful of my almost 35-year airline career. Toward the end of the month on Thanksgiving Day, I became very homesick, especially when I realized that all across the US people, including my family, were celebrating Thanksgiving.
My final permanent duty with my original airline had me living apart once again. This time, I was in Dayton, Ohio, for ten months. The plan was that my wife would stay in Dallas and try to sell our house. The house never sold, and I wound up taking a severance package and came back home. All of that was very much in the future when Thanksgiving rolled around. In the middle of an American Airlines strike, I wouldn’t be stopped from coming home from Dayton on Thanksgiving, and flew two airlines with a connection in Louisville just to get home. (I stayed in Dayton for Christmas.) My own times away from home were brief, and I can only imagine what military families go through this time of year. But, I know that given the opportunity to be home on only one holiday, it would be Thanksgiving.
I like the fact that Thanksgiving isn’t commercialized. You don’t send Thanksgiving cards or exchange Thanksgiving gifts. It is a time for family and camaraderie, and this year my family will be entertaining my mom and a longtime friend of my wife. All of us on the Blog Team are going to take a short break on posting new material, but we will keep moderating your comments. We will be back with new material on Friday. Until then, have a Happy Thanksgiving!