Last Sunday, our pastor, Ruy Mizuki, as is the custom at our church, had the children come forward during the service, and he told them the story of the first Thanksgiving. It was a familiar story, but it was good to hear it as a reminder of the reason the holiday was established many years ago.

The early settlers had suffered a very harsh winter — half of them died. The Indians (now known as Native Americans), showed them great kindness, and told them how to grow crops successfully. In spite of the hardships, they gave thanks.

Thanksgiving has grown into a great American holiday, happily bringing families together. Marion and I, with Laurie, our daughter in San Francisco, along with her husband and son will be going to Palm Springs for the holiday. We’ve made plans to cater our Thanksgiving dinner from Bristol Farm.

We subscribe to a number of health magazines that have articles concerning matters dealing with maintaining good mental health. One of the bits of advice commonly mentioned recommends going over in one’s mind, each day, the things in one’s life to be thankful for. This is interesting and significant, to me, in that it brings together mental health advice and faith tradition.

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? I am thankful for my good health, as well as the good health of all in our family. I am thankful for the wonderful friends Marion and I have. We have had a chance to travel to a few places overseas, and I realize how thankful I am to live in this great country.

I am also thankful to have had a part in organizing the truly awesome gathering of LGBTQ people and their allies held at the JA National Museum on Nov. 15. The satisfaction I had in seeing people who have been alienated from our community come together in fellowship is hard to put into words.

So, what are you thankful for?

Phil Shigekuni writes from San Fernando Valley and can be contacted at The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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