Monday, June 18 , 2018, 9:35 pm | Fair 62º


Susan Estrich: Thanksgiving

Some Thanksgivings are easy. When my children were younger, I just could not believe how lucky I was: two beautiful children, kinehora (in Jewish, that means "Keep the evil eye away"). We invited friends and loaded the table with food; I think I even shed a few tears of pure joy.

If you are going to have that kind of Thanksgiving, then all I can say is that I am green with envy. Really. I don't covet money or things, but that kind of joy — the kind that has eluded me for so many years — of that I am jealous.

For most of us, the holidays are, at best, bittersweet, a time not only to celebrate those at our table but to miss those who are not there. My big dining room table sits in the house I no longer live in; I have a small table now, and even that table will be half empty.

My Thanksgiving table has been eroded by death and divorce and children who grew up and left or have other plans for dinner.

So we will be five, and it will be a lunch, with not really enough people to merit a turkey: Who eats turkey at 1:30 anyway? And besides, after two years of stomach troubles, during which someone was constantly shoving turkey at me (I was unable to eat fresh fruit or vegetables), if I never saw turkey again it would be too soon.

Boohoo. Self-pity swings into full gear at the holidays. We all assume everyone but us is sitting at one of those big tables, groaning with the fullness of their stomachs, surrounded by loving friends and family, eager to make a day of it.

I know. No matter how many times I say the gratitude prayer that morning, no matter how many times I remind myself to thank God for my blessings, as I sit at the table eating nothing, I will be praying that God ensures no one else's life is ruined by incompetent doctors the way mine has been.

I cannot be very grateful. My only consolation for a ruined life — all my friendships lost and almost all my relationships destroyed — is to do everything I can to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. That is my prayer and my wish. May you enjoy your turkey more than I will ever enjoy a meal again.

Be well. Without that, nothing matters.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >