Chefs in Chicago serving Thanksgiving dinner at a children’s hospital.

My Thanksgiving morning traditions would make an OCD sufferer jealous.  I get up at 3:00 anyway and am booked til 4:30 with routine.  On Thanksgiving that journey takes the other side of the fork in the turkey – I am responsible for the turkey so that goes in by 6:00 because no matter what the math is no turkey is ever ready before 1:00 ever.  Ever.

I dress for Thanksgiving and always have.  I also have always had a dog and a cigar.  Around 6:15, turkey in the oven and tie on, I get aforementioned dog and aforementioned cigar, and we walk while the sun comes up.  The intention is to reflect personally on what I have to be thankful for, the reality is that it tires the dog out so there is less of him underfoot (for some reason my dogs have all been male except for my first, I wonder about that sometimes).  You have to be careful where you flick ash on autumn walks although typically frost fireproofs.  The sky is always clearer than it is on any other time except Christmas Eve night, even if it is pouring.  Gray skies against orange leaves is ambiance, baby.

The act of giving thanks is portrayed as simple but draws out some depth of philosophy.  I have friends of the you-get-what-you-earn and you-have-what-you-want-the-most and life-gives-you-what-you-give-it mentality.  I wonder how that vantage point gives thanks to anything other than itself.   Paucity of spirit is fear-based, but it is also reductive.  As I walk past an orange tree against a gray sky, neither one (tree/sky) falls on me.  None of my doing, and yet there is a good thing.  In fact, the whole gray sky holds the whole blue/green earth in an astronomical womb.  None of my doing, and yet there is a good thing.  To be thankful for.

It then becomes a matter of degree.  I have agnostic friends.  That does not make them unobservant of the grace that can occur between people, and they are thankful for that, but only that.  I have religious friends who attribute all to a Higher Power, and all thanks are directed there.  Kind of the opposite of the agnostic, there is at least thanks, but it is missing a dimension or two.

I am both Christian and Buddhist.  It is no picnic explaining that BUT it does allow for a multi-layered gratitude.  I know very very much of a Higher Power, and have been witness to and subject of miraculous events.  I also have traveled leagues down into the sea of detachment, for which the act of thanks is a transgression.

The spectrum of gratitude, I find, is a correlate of the spectrum of spirit.  The more open the eyes and mind and heart, the more gratitude happens.  To whom/what ever.  To those that shirk gratitude and spirituality and the pursuit of happiness, to those that feel they deserve what they have and so does everyone else, I guess I would say this.  It’s a workable approach, just like white bread with jar sauce and grated parmesan is a form of pizza.  But the more you are able to open your gaze, the more there is to see, and the more there is to be grateful for.

I hope you have a tremendous Thanksgiving.  On my walk tomorrow (I will post what I wear) I will think of you as a community, who have embraced these first few months.  I am grateful that we expanded, I am grateful that we weeded, and I am grateful that all the compass arrows are pointed in the right direction.  I am really grateful for all your kind notes.  Those are great to get.  I hope that this space continues to be one where we can appreciate classic and beautiful things, think faceted thoughts, enjoy five minutes, and when the opportunity presents, lift somebody else up.

Thanks for everything, really.


23 Comments on "Thanksgiving."

  1. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Kind Regards,


  2. One of the things I’m thankful for is this blog.

  3. 1. I am thankful for IS, and the conversations I read here. I am looking forward to a lifestyle similar to what you describe. I love being up early, and cooking.

    2. I have a sports-jacket which doesn’t fit any more. I would love to replace it, MTM, as the fabric is perfect for TG: houndstooth/puppytooth, with autumnal colors of olive green, rust, indgo blue and chocolate on a tan ground, and importantly, no overcheck. Wish me luck. I’ve been searching for that fabric for years.

  4. What a wonderful Thanksgiving article! Thank you and thankful for you!

  5. Over the past however-many years, information and perspective I’ve gleaned from this site have contributed a great deal to my personal sense of style. The community here is comprised of quite interesting people. And there are precious few corners of the Internet where even passionate disagreements on everything from oxford shirt collar roll to peripherally political topics can (…usually) be aired with civility. Thanks for this post and for your stewardship of this repository, arbiter, and forum of classic American style.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  7. René Lebenthal | November 24, 2021 at 12:22 pm |

    Happy Thanksgiving to the whole Ivy community here from Paris.
    All the Best,

  8. Wishing all members, posters, and visitors a Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. ❤️

  10. God bless and happy Thanksgiving to all.


  11. I’m not particularly spiritual unless the topic turns to scotch. Or rum. Or bourbon. Or wine and beer for that matter.

    Perhaps I should be, now more than ever. A world class heart surgeon installed a brand new (to me) cow valve and four by-passes in me last January. I’m damn thankful for that.

    I’m going to think on this spiritual thing, perhaps even cypher on it as Jethro Bodine used to say. I’ll prolly have a Monkey Shoulder and water in front of me as I ponder the mysteries.

    Thanks for putting up with me. Y’all have a good’n.

  12. Thanks all around. Nice reflection, John.

    WhiskeyDent: a Macallan or Basil Hayden is calling my name. It’s saying cheers to your good health and good surgeons everywhere.

  13. Agree, an eloquent post. Much to reflect on this year. I read daily but don’t comment, but glad to a part of the community nonetheless.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


  14. Damn, forgot the “be”…but glad to be a part of the community…

    Perhaps a little too much celebrating tonight.


  15. One of the best things I’ve read in a long time— here or anywhere. And, as some may be aware, I can be critical as hell. Even petty–about stuff that doesn’t really matter in the long run.

    If you’ve lost loved ones, friends, a job, or your sense of self –your place in the world and why you matter– you don’t give much a crap about unpadded shoulders, hooked vents, or the weight of tweed.

    Well stated, JB.
    Keep at it.

  16. Thanks Ignatius! Is that your real name or did you choose it in honor of Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans?

  17. Forgot to mention I’m grateful for this site. Without it. I’d have no place to go full curmudgeonly dinosaur as I whine-and-complain about change(s).

    Well, that’s not entirely true. I complain elsewhere and at other times.
    But still.

    Glad you’re keepin this creaky boat afloat, JB. We’re all tacking upwind, after all.

  18. Happy Thanksgiving, lads. Here in the Old Line, we’ve got a beautiful, crisp, sunny day for shucking oysters & drinking Prosecco on the deck while the turkey roasts. Lots to be thankful for. Including all of you.

  19. NaturalShoulder | November 25, 2021 at 2:01 pm |

    Happy Thanksgiving all.

  20. Well said J.B. and S.E. – thankful for a lovely day in the VA Piedmont and the company of friends and family.

    Happy Thanksgiving all.

  21. Charlottesville | November 26, 2021 at 2:31 pm |

    Sorry to have missed checking in on Thanksgiving, but I hope all of my Ivy Style friends had a lovely day. Covid-related changes in our travel plans (not in my household, thankfully), meant that I cooked a turkey dinner at home, with my wife and one of my brothers the only others in attendance. Dinner rig: Old BB gun-check tweed, OCBD, challis tie, Bills khakis, and A-E plain-toe derbies with argyle socks from Ben Silver (temps were in the mid 60s here, but I am most definitely a sock guy, with minor summery exceptions). Very best wishes to all for a long autumnal weekend.

  22. @whiskydent: haha a little of both: a valentine to the Confederacy of Dunces (er, one of literature’s great curmudgeons), but also my middle name. I love how you called it out.

  23. Happy Thanksgiving. Why no briar on your morning walk? Instead of a cigar, that is.

    Hi! Great question. I have tried pipes for years. I have a few nice ones even. The thing pipe lovers are into about pipes, the ritual and participation, are the things that I don’t like for some reason. I guess sitting, yes, I have the time to pack and tamp. And the relighting. That’s work, too. I love the smoke, but it is a lot of work, no? And hard to do while walking. – JB

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