My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Thursday—Now that Thanksgiving Day is over, I wonder how many people really searched their hearts and found some definite thing or things for which they were truly thankful?

I noticed the day before Thanksgiving that one of my fellow columnists devoted his column to a comparison between the meagre life of the Pilgrims and our more abundant civilization! Those who established "the Day" were giving thanks for bare necessity which might not seem to us to warrant much gratitude. Of course he is right, we should be grateful that we live in a land of plenty, though Heaven knows a goodly number of our people are not so conscious of the plenty as they might be, and of course we should be grateful that our people are resourceful and self-reliant, but those qualities do not always bring them the plenty which seems to be so close at hand.

I often wonder if the Pilgrim Fathers did not have an easier time being thankful because the contrasts in their day were not so clearly defined. Everybody was more or less in the same situation. The Indians might scalp them all at any moment and while some may have been better husbandmen or better weavers, still the soil and the climate was alike for all and the ability to weave a few more yards of cloth did not make such a tremendous difference in the comfort of any household.

I suppose this is why Norris in Tennessee impressed me so much. On the whole everybody had a fairly equal chance to live in the same environment and enjoy the necessities and some of the luxuries of life. That is, I imagine what makes most of us really thankful, but let us make a plea for those who have at least the necessities of life to turn in thankfulness to the friends who surround them. On Thanksgiving Day and all through the year I think we should be not only thankful for material things but also for a few of the intangibles which can not be calculated in dollars and cents but which do contribute considerably to the joy of our existence.

A little Christmas shopping yesterday morning, a brief visit from my brother who reminds me at times of the sea-gull because he swoops down and alights for about two minutes and then he is off again to settle in some other place equally temporarily.

There seems to be more mail in Washington than there was when we were travelling around the country, but that I am sure is just an illusion, it is only that it appears more frequently on my desk and that more people bring it in!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was eaten in the middle of the day because we wished to have at least one grandchild with us. We were a very small party indeed, and I imagine my mother-in-law had not many more with her this Thanksgiving, so it is too bad we could not join forces and all be together. This is the first time we have been in the White House for Thanksgiving so we felt it was rather an historical occassion for us, and we observed all the traditional customs and ate more turkey than one should eat with kindly thoughts of the Arthurdale Homesteaders who sent it to us.

TMsd 25 November 1937, AERP, FDRL