Thanks­giv­ing is not just a day

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Leonard Pitts Jr. The Mi­ami Her­ald Leonard Pitts is syn­di­cated by Tri­bune Me­dia Ser­vices.

I was sit­ting in the ser­vice de­part­ment of my Toy­ota dealer, star­ing at a book with­out see­ing it as I waited for my car. God was next to me, watch­ing “The Price is Right.”

“Eight-hun­dred forty-nine dol­lars and ninety-nine cents,” he said. “Huh?” I said. “The re­tail price of a stain­less-steel Ken­more 4.2-cu­bic­foot free­stand­ing gas range,” said God, point­ing to the tele­vi­sion.

On the screen, an ex­cited young woman blurted, “Twelve-hun­dred dol­lars!”

Drew Carey looked sad for her as he re­vealed the price. God shook his head. “I tried to tell her,” he said. “If peo­ple would only lis­ten to me.”

“Oh,” I said, and re­turned to the book I wasn’t read­ing.

God re­garded me a mo­ment. Then he said, “Trans­mis­sion?” I looked up. “What?” God said, “I asked if you brought the car in be­cause your trans­mis­sion went blooey. Ob­vi­ously, some­thing’s got you down.”

I sighed and closed the book. “Trump,” I said. “Trump?” “The guy that’s go­ing to be our new pres­i­dent,” I said.

“Oh yeah,” said God. “With the hair, right?” “Yeah,” I said. “That guy.” “Well, what about him?” On the screen above us, some man had Drew Carey in a bear hug. I sighed. “He’s the worst ex­cuse for a leader I’ve ever seen,” I said. “What kind of ‘pres­i­dent’ spends his time whin­ing about how he’s treated on ‘Satur­day Night Live’? Or has to pay out $25 mil­lion to re­solve a fraud case en route to in­au­gu­ra­tion? Not to men­tion that he’s as­sem­bling a cabi­net only a Klans­man could love.” “Fright­en­ing,” God said. “Yes,” I said. “Now here it is Thanks­giv­ing, and I find that, well, I’m just not feel­ing very thank­ful.”

God was in­cred­u­lous. “But look at all I’ve given you. You’ve got that great wife, you have a house, you have health, and you’ve got that new grand­daugh­ter tod­dling around.” “Yeah,” I said. “Of course, I’m thank­ful for all that. But the coun­try .... ”

“You should thank me for the coun­try, too,” he said.

“How?” I said. “Like I just told you, there’s noth­ing to be thank­ful for.”

“I dis­agree,” said God. “I did some of my bet­ter work here.”

“Oh?” I said. “Which part? The big­otry, the stu­pid­ity or the misog­yny?”

God gave me a level look. “You’re an­gry,” he said.

“Yeah,” I ad­mit­ted. “I prob­a­bly will be for the next few years.” “Why?” asked God. “Why?! Didn’t you hear what I said about the dope we elected? About the Masters of Evil he’s sur­round­ing him­self with? I ex­pect bet­ter from this coun­try.”

“You ex­pect bet­ter,” said God. On the screen above, some lady shrieked and bit her fin­ger­nails as the Big Wheel spun. “Yeah,” I said. “I do.” “And what gives you this ex­pec­ta­tion?” “This is Amer­ica,” I said. God laughed. “You peo­ple al­ways say that word like a magic spell,” he said. “But there is no magic in it. Cer­tainly no guar­an­tee. You may ex­pect bet­ter in Amer­ica only be­cause here, you have the free­dom to de­mand bet­ter — and to work to­ward bet­ter. That’s all ‘Amer­ica’ means. You had that free­dom be­fore this Trump per­son was elected, and you have it still. Not ev­ery­one does.”

“So you’re say­ing the fight to form a more per­fect union is al­ways on­go­ing? And that even in our cur­rent predica­ment, we can draw strength from know­ing that? You’re say­ing that God abides even now, and that these are things to be grate­ful for on Thanks­giv­ing Day?”

God smiled. “I’m say­ing thanks­giv­ing is not a day.”

“Wow,” I said. “I never thought about it like that.”

“You’re wel­come,” said God.

“‘This is Amer­ica,’ I said. God laughed. ‘You peo­ple al­ways say that word like a magic spell,’ he said. ‘But there is no magic in it.’”

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