Holidays are best time to give thanks

By James Nokes

Acold wind blows across the floor and onto the soles of your bare feet. You wipe the sleep from your eyes, and count the fortified ice crystals that have taken up residence on the top of your window.

Ahhhh … Thanksgiving morning and Christmas day; the best times of the year.

Hopefully, wisps of snow will traverse the fields that fathers, sons, brothers and friends will line up on for a pre-dinner Turkey Bowl.

In the weeks that follow, grown men will carry on in muscle-strained, cracked-rib agony – all for the glory of hanging onto that pass across the middle as your best friend lays you out with a textbook tackle.

Be thankful for Vicodin and Flexeril – I know I am.

There are numerous varieties of family. Give thanks to the one you belong to.

When grandpa can’t hear you ask for the candied-yams, cherish the moment. It won’t be there forever.

Give thanks to those who champion the cause of the disenfranchised. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is one of those people. He recently brought his message to NIU.

I am thankful I sat in the audience that day, fortunate enough to be inspired by a pillar in the struggle for civil rights and the equality for men and women of all races, colors, creeds,and sexual orientations.

Unlike most, Jackson sees the “elephant in the room” and then talks about it.

He provided an eloquent metaphor on race wrapped in the context of sports.

It was about teamwork. People of all races compete on a level playing field. Color doesn’t dictate the rules. For all races, Asian-American, African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, a first down is 10 yards. A touchdown is six points. A field goal is three. Fair for all.

As Jackson said, if white players only needed six yards for a first down, there would be outrage.

As NIU attempts to capture a MAC West title, cheer with passion and be grateful the rules in sports provide a level playing field that creates a multi-racial family of athletes.

This holiday season, strive to make a difference in the unfortunately unfair playing field of life.

Shine some light on the dark corners of the life of someone less fortunate. Put some change in the bucket of the bell ringers, or donate to the various holiday funds.

If you lack a disposable income, like most college kids do, contribute with small miracles. Visit a soup kitchen. Hold the door open for an elderly person. Say “thank you.” Make someone laugh.

There are a million tiny gestures that can help spread thankfulness.

Let the magic of the holiday cover you like a warm blanket. Absorb the scent of a browning turkey or ham, plow your hands through the dressing, and cut the succulent pumpkin pie. Let your worries and troubles cease to exist.

Help the less fortunate and give thanks to the labor of those who paved the “roads,” both literal and figurative, that we now travel.

Make the holiday about family.

So during this holiday season try not to break any ribs, stand up for those who can’t stand on their own, and most importantly, hold that person you love close, and spread some holiday magic.

Go Huskies. Happy Thanksgiving.