On Thanksgiving: Jeepsgiving

Thanksgiving is over. By which I mean: it's passe. Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved the date back and forth so many times that it's meaningless anyway. And do you know why he did that? To extend the holiday shopping season. Probably because he wanted people to buy more cigars as stocking stuffers! (That was uncalled-for. Cigar jokes are too easy.)

But really, I'm done with Thanksgiving as an institution. Some people feel that it's "meaningful" to "take" the "time" to "be grateful" for all of the things that we "have." I, on the other hand, can see right through that. I've seen how it works. Here's how it works: People tell themselves, 'Maybe a third of the world doesn't have access to uncontaminated drinking water. But . . . we have a turkey! And hey look, a TV!' It's like overconsumption is a form of gratitude, especially when it only ends in wishing that there were more brie to be had.

To me, the end of November will always symbolize something much more important: the day when I got my Jeep. My family bought it from a rainy pile of leaves outside of our friend's house in Seattle, filled it with cassette tapes, packs of gum and a tire, and then drove it down two states to my florescent-lit apartment in Provo. They called at 1:30 AM when they were in Salt Lake; I knew exactly how long it would take to get where I was. So I stayed up. It felt surreal. I was barely awake, trying to grade a paper over and over and over in my burning florescent living room. My roommates had left, so the house was empty. While the light burned, I imagined the car coming toward me, as lurid and unbelievable as a parade float, streaming with glitter and overflowing with clowns. Really? A Jeep? I wondered if the pilgrims had arrived at the villages of the Native Americans they killed in a Jeep.

But then they were there, in the dark night, in a 1992 red Jeep Cherokee that looked like it was smirking at me in the rain. They hugged and hugged me. Who? I didn't know, I was asleep. The seats were tweed. My brother's hair was longer.

The next day, we left the house, with all of its food smells and unbreathable rooms and my worries and worries, and we got in the Jeep. The sun came in the window as I turned the key, the sun that was red and brown and smelled like tweed. We drove up the side of the mountain, toward brown trees and a blue sky, blasting Led Zeppelin mamaaa caught you smiling at me, that's the way it should be, and then purple rain, purple rain. I drove and drove, across long streets and short streets, and it got warmer in the car, three children yelling in the back. I couldn't see through my sunglasses. We drove and drove, up hills and through trees and past bright signs and around my old house and your old house. Then the sun got sweeter like a pie, darker, and I drove too fast because the day was over.

So think for a minute. Is there a Jeep in your life that you have taken for granted? Take a minute to give thanks this Jeepsgiving.


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