Sunday, June 12, 2011

This Thanksgiving, Nov. 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. What I love about Thanksgiving besides the fond family memories is the blending of the traditional and contemporary. By traditional I mean foods on the “must have” list in order for Thanksgiving to be a real Thanksgiving. These foods have appeared at Thanksgiving dinner since childhood. For my husband and I this includes my mother-in-law's pearl onions and peas, my grandmother's cranberry and orange relish, my mother's sweet potatoes with (do I dare admit it?) marshmallows and the always present mashed potatoes and gravy. The contemporary includes those foods appearing since I have had my own family. This includes pumpkin pie made from my garden squash, a locally raised turkey from ½ mile down the road (not the grocery store), my daughter's famous apple pie (from our own apples) and buttermilk biscuits, and acorn squash with nutmeg, cinnamon, butter and walnuts.

I am tutoring an ESL (English as a Second Language) student from Jordan. She asked me if all Americans understand the meaning of Thanksgiving. I could not assure her we do even though we are supposed to. I do know that almost every American has strong memories both of the actual Thanksgiving meal and those who attended the meal. How many of us have heard “but you must have (fill in the blank with a food) at Thanksgiving!”? People feel strongly about this issue and about who should and should not be present at the dinner table. Do you only invite family? Friends? What about strangers? I think I am not the only one who takes time on this holiday to think back to previous Thanksgivings. It is a time to pause, to assess change always present in life and to give thanks in whatever way is meaningful to us.

I admit I am filled with more sadness though this Thanksgiving. While I give thanks for my blessings, I can't ignore the news reports of those struggling more than ever. Struggling to put food on the table, struggling to keep health insurance and to keep a job, struggling to provide clothing and heat to their children. And while my table will be filled with food and my belly stuffed, I think of those who I met in Africa this past summer. Those who live in extreme poverty and can't image a feast as great as mine. This Thanksgiving while giving thanks, please keep all of them in your thoughts.

No comments:

Post a Comment