Thursday 22 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is truly the most blessed of all holidays. And one that goes quite deep into my heart.

There is no commercialisation of the holiday. No consumerisation, although I am a bit surprised the American retailers haven't figured out a way to suck our money out of our wallets. There are no gifts to be bought, given, expected or obligation to give/receive.

This is a holiday focused on purely being thankful. A chance to be grateful for all we have and to consider those who have less. A chance to ponder all that you have to be thankful and express that around a table of bountiful food typically made up of items native to the Americas, eg sweet potatoes, maize, turkey.

The Thanksgiving dinner is different in every family but every family has traditions. Whilst every dinner may consists of individuals different items, those items remain largely the same year after year after year.

For many in America, it is more important to return to the family home on Thanksgiving than it is on Christmas day. For that, I am grateful. And we wish we were in the states with our American family. I miss my family most of all on this day.

This year I will do 2 Thanksgiving dinners. Tonight I will prepare a small turnkey breast with some quick Stove Top stuffing (thanks to Janell), some mashed potatoes, green beans and a small sweet potato pie. Dessert will be the requisite pumpkin pie.

We do not have Thanksgiving in England so my children are at school and Marc is working. Tonight Sebastian has swimming lesson at 6:30 and since they don't get home from school until 4 we won't have time to do a big dinner. Sebastian might sink in the pool if he ate too much!

I have taken the day off but that is more in protest to the English not having a Thanksgiving than anything to do with preparing a meal. You might think this is a bit lonely but I enjoy this time of solitude to meditate on all that is around me.

Saturday will be the full blown shebang. I'll cook a proper turkey. I'll do the tortilla roll-ups for which Nanny was famous. I'll do celery stuffed with cream cheese and green olives. I am the only one in my family who eats them but I can't bear a Thanksgiving without them. I'll make proper stuffing with water chestnuts. I'll also have another excuse for more pumpkin pie. Marc would be quite happy to eat just the pumpkin pie although I do remember the very first time I served it up to him. I had to coax him to take a very small bite.

Our table will be set with our wedding china which I believe always scares the living daylights out of my children. This is a healthy fear.

One of the very first Thanksgivings was in 1621 at Plymouth Plantation. I love this story. I am grateful for the help of the Native Americans for I believe history would have had a very different outcome without their support. I am disappointed in the ending. I am ashamed that famine, disease, the theft of their land and general appalling treatment by the forefathers have left many of the Native Americans in a dreadful existence today.

But I am grateful. I am healthy. I have 2 beautiful children. We have a lovely warm, and comfortable home. We are not hungry. We are warm and we are dry. We are not afraid to walk out of our homes and speak our minds. We can read and write. We have so much which enables us to be so much. We could make do with so much less.

Before Thanksgiving we will bow our heads and give thanks. Sebastian said his lunchtime prayers at school in the dining hall for the first time a few days ago (or so he tells me) and he is very excited to say the prayer this evening. We will do as we have done for decades in my family and go around the table asking each to give thanks for what they are most thankful for.

I am most thankful for those sitting around the table with me and sharing our lives together, growing up and growing old. I couldn't ask for any more.

And today, when there are so many others who have so little, I say thanks to all of you for helping to make my life that much richer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope your saturday meal was fabulous! This was our 2nd Thanksgiving in Belgium and apart from missing our families, it's not too bad. The kids do have school, but Drew and I spend the day cooking together and since Drew works for the US Army, he gets Friday off so he and I have some alone time which is always nice. We fried a turkey (our neighbors think we are nuts I'm sure) and had all of the usual. Drew makes a pumpkin cheesecake that is to-die-for so we ate all of that already!