Ebby Halliday Acers: Thanksgiving in Tough Times Offers Blessings

The following op-ed piece written by Ebby first appeared in The Dallas Morning News on November 25, 2008. We thought it would be appropriate to repost today. Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving from The Ebby Halliday Family of Companies.

Most of you who are reading this do not remember the Great Depression in the 1930s, but I am a product of it. It was a hard time that saw many good people flounder and fall, giving up because they could not find a job, a way to support their families or themselves.

However, many lifted themselves by trying and trying again, no matter how deep they fell. Those of us lucky enough to have jobs were not only grateful for them but learned the wisdom of thrift and the art of preserving things. It was a time when families were broken, but equally a time when families grew stronger bonds because they learned the beauty of sharing.

Many of us found that the person in rags on the corner was a former neighbor, and so we opened our rather empty pockets to help, often with uplifting words as well as material things. It was a time when children learned to play with little but their imagination.

Today, trying times are upon us again, hopefully not as deep and lasting as those of the Great Depression. But now is our time to test ourselves. Some will learn how to do with fewer comforts, and others will have even less. Many will not be able to travel this Thanksgiving.

Let s ask ourselves: Has our cup been half-full or half-empty? Are we ready for what comes next? Is our place in order? Our place may be a hut, a mansion or no dwelling at all. But how we feel about our presence our place in the world is very important.

Do we feel entitled to live carefree lives? Do we deserve to have things our way, always? Have we given enough to our communities to create an environment, a neighborhood of acceptance of our fellow human beings?

Dallas may have escaped the worst of the housing and economic storms thus far. But hidden inside our statistics are families who are in need, often not of their own making. They can be found in every neighborhood. Do we owe them any assistance?

Over 200 years ago, Albigence Waldo, a surgeon at Valley Forge, said, Mankind is never truly thankful for the benefits of life until they have experienced the want of them.

Yes, many will not travel this Thanksgiving. But did you know there are places right here that offer a meaningful way to spend your time? I suggest our own great treasure, Thanks-Giving Square, in downtown Dallas. The wise founders of this unique place chose thanksgiving as its core because it is a virtue and a tradition for people of all faiths and cultures.

Come learn about America s founders who, through thanksgiving, wrought victory out of defeat, forged unity out of diversity and healed the wounds of untold hurts while remaining true to their own beliefs. Discover how clergy in Dallas gave thanks together more than 100 years ago when others dared not even try.

Come with your family and your friends. Come, have your children and grandchildren jump and shout in the center of the Ring of Thanks. Walk up to the chapel and the breathtaking stained-glass window as it lifts you from the mundane to the sublime.

Answer challenging times with your own challenge. List all the reasons you have to be grateful and find a way to make someone else s life better. And, for those of you who can afford it, leave a token of thanks to the square, so that it will continue to bring access to a place of thought, joy, solace and gratitude all the days of the year.