It was a cold, rainy morning when I pulled into the gas station.
It is one that I like to frequent because the attendant there is always pleasant, with a smile that is welcoming. He definitely has seen more moons than I have, and with a weathered exterior that makes it clear that desk jobs are not what he has done through his life.
He handed me the receipt when it was all done. As always, he added, "have a good day."
"Thanks. And have a good Thanksgiving" I replied even as he was starting to walk away to the other car that was waiting.
He paused. Perhaps to make sure within himself that he did hear what he thought he had heard.
He retraced his path to my car. "You too, man" he grinned. "I got to work though. But then, working is better than not working" he added with a chuckle.
I smiled, waved, and got back on the road.
On a cold and rainy morning, when a man who is older than I am genuinely smiles and chuckles about having to work filling gas on Thanksgiving, I feel so humbled realizing that I have no grounds to complain about any material aspect of my life. I, like many, take my privileges for granted.
A couple of hours later, I opened the discussions in class with my favorite pre-Thanksgiving groaner that I have been doing for years now, ever since I gained my citizenship. "Ask me why I am the best person ever to be invited to a Thanksgiving meal" I told them.
A student then asked me that question. And now came my big moment for the punchline. My life is always a punchline, it seems.
"Because, at the table, I am simultaneously an American and an Indian" I said. And laughed along with the class. It is really a good thing that I find my humor to be amusing; it keeps me entertained. All these years and I still laugh at my stale groaner!
"No Thanksgiving for me. I have to work" said one student. Another joined in with having to work.
Plenty of people work on a day that is a holiday to most. At coffee-shops, gas stations, airports, utilities, ... The grocery store displayed a note that it will be open until three in the afternoon. Meanwhile, at homes across the country, mothers and aunts and grandmothers prepare the Thanksgiving meals, putting in even more hours than they do on regular days, with fathers, uncles, and grandfathers occasionally chipping in. We take all their work for granted.
I thank them all.