today we celebrate en masse 
and gather in array; 
today in gratitude we march 
or sing, or shout, or play -- 

or gather in more quiet homes 
a meal or less to share; 
today's the annual parade -- 
maybe I'll see you there

Gratitude is healthy, but only when sincerely felt. Feigned gratitude tastes terrible, one of those foods we ingest because manners dictate that we do so. It is no coincidence, then, that we attempt to celebrate the expression of gratitude by eating things we (presumably) love. It makes any residue of fake gratitude go down easier.

Before the meal, usually, is the parade. Parades are busy, and colorful, and loud, and musical, and exciting — some of us like all of these things, and most of us like at least one of these things. Colors would be the one I like the most. I could do without most of the other parts. I love bright colors, though.

When my parents would take me to a parade as a child, or watch one on television, I could tell that parades had meant more to them than they did to me. They had grown up in a radio age, and only saw what they directly experienced. I grew up in a television age, where images were far more plentiful. People in the Internet age experience connectedness in different ways still, and in greater visual and auditory abundance.

It’s a common-yet-strange disconnect when things that mean a lot to people don’t mean much to their children. Thanksgiving itself, as celebrated here, seems to still mean lot to the young ones, although observably differently depending on the child. Some love the crowd, the excitement, the noise, and others don’t. We are all very different from day one, even before circumstance begins to shape us like weather.

If you happen to watch a parade today, or anytime, remember this: nothing says “celebration” like getting dressed up and going for a long walk, while people cheer. Except maybe watching it.

(More from the other Cheer Peppers here.)

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