MQH The Happiest Place on Earth

Posted on: Nov 20, 2016

When I think of Thanksgiving, I instantly go back to my childhood memories where time seemed to stand still, when life was simple, and family was everything. I remember this quote I would hear every year from a well-known peanuts character, “Charlie Brown”. About this time every year, he says “holidays always depress me”. That quote would always baffle me, because holidays were the greatest days of the year for the Kleisinger family. There are thirteen members in my family, seven boys and six girls and yes I am the baby boy and unfortunately I have two rotten younger sisters that got in my way from being the king of the house. (Just kidding, I sort of love them) Thanksgiving to Christmas was the one time of the year that all of our family would get together. Having an extremely large family the holidays were never depressing for us, holidays were always exciting and fun.
On Thanksgiving my brothers and sisters and I had a tradition that we would play two handed TAG football. This got so big that some of our friends would come over in the morning and play with us well into the afternoon. I remember my dad who was up in years, would watch us play, and he would sort of referee us from the metal swing. I say “sort of” because he never called a fair game, he always sided with the weaker team. At the time it would make me so mad because my team was always the best, and winning meant everything to me.
It took me years to understand why he didn’t call a fair game, but then it dawned on me that my dad was trying to make sure that everyone was having a good time, not just the winners. My dad was always concerned about the other person’s feelings, he was always trying to make everyone feel important. Even though I would get so upset when my team would lose because of some crazy call my dad would make; all he would have to do is put his arm around my shoulder, tell me that he liked some play I made, then he would always wink and smile at me and say “maybe next year you might win”. Each time he did this I knew my dad loved me and we would go in the house and help mom prepare the Thanksgiving feast. As my friends would leave I noticed that they had a great time hanging out with us as they rejoiced in their victory. I eventually learned that winning wasn’t necessarily everything, but making and keeping a friend is.
Unfortunately for some people the Holidays can be depressing, our job as my dad taught me is to be on the lookout for those who are struggling during this time of year. Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas should be a time of excitement and fun as it was for my family, but that is not the case for all people. This Thanksgiving may you and I be like my dad who was always on the lookout for those who might be struggling to have a good time this upcoming holiday season.
Last year Karen and I were very nervous when we invited a total stranger to our home for Thanksgiving dinner. He lives in Canada and was visiting a family member who celebrates Thanksgiving with us every year. He was so nice and we had such a great time with him that we invited him back again this year. He accepted! YAY!!!!!
May the holidays never depress you, may you always stay close to your family, and may you always make and keep a friend! I pray you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving! Remember, the most important part of Thanksgiving is not the food, it is the memories!! Go make some!!!
Deacon Larry