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LEON BIBB COMMENTARY | Let's be thankful for family this Thanksgiving

Leon Bibb takes a sentimental journey to Thanksgivings of his past to remind us all to be thankful for life and each other.

My Thanksgivings could be carved right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. My family members were not in his paintings, but we could have been there.

What Rockwell painted of Thanksgivings is what we lived. Family gathering. Thankful for life. And each other.

Even the little one in an old photograph!

Credit: Leon Bibb

That's me in the Thanksgiving fold. More on this photograph shortly.

At the Western Reserve Historical Society of the Cleveland History Center, part of America's Thanksgiving Day history is chronicled in old postcards celebrating the day.

"Abraham Lincoln in 1863. He is the president who established a day of thanksgiving that we could rely on year after year," explains Eric Rivet from Western Reserve Historical Socieity.

So on this day, I pause as I should.

My thankfulness is sweetened with memories of my childhood Thanksgiving Days. I am thankful for the old neighborhood. My school nearby. The pathways family and friends walked. Thanksgiving Day, they are among my blessings.

In that old photograph are some of my relatives of a long-ago Thanksgiving dinner. All in the photograph are gone now, except for me. I am youngest in the room, nestled comfortably in Dad's arms. We were all thankful for each other.

Credit: Leon Bibb

Today, especially, I think of my relatives and those who charted courses for a family's future.

"It's more than just the table that food is on," smiles Rivet. "It's the house, it's the community, it's the neighborhood."

Inside this nation's homes are Thanksgiving gatherings of family and friends with thoughts of those here. And those not here.

"Everybody can look back into their history and remember," adds Rivet.

Which is what this is about. Being thankful for those who paved the way. This Thanksgiving Day, I pay tribute to the family members. In the old photograph, their images are frozen in time, but in my memory, they are still moving about me.

Certainly, this day can tug at the heartstrings. Memories of cooking food coming from the kitchen. We think of the people no longer with us to hover around the kitchen stove or gather around the dinner table. This day can be very reflective.

So my old family photograph is precious. Our faces show we were thankful for our lives together.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!