The sound of laughter rolls through the house, on the heels of the sweet and rich scents from the kitchen. The air outside is cold and crisp, bringing a delicate pink hue to the cheeks and noses of little children. Everyone’s eyes are liquid and warm, glad to be away from the cold, in a warm home with warm hearts. Friends and family alike take this time to commune, sharing food and sharing love. Even non-American homes, like my own, have taken up Thanksgiving as a holiday. Since not everyone in America necessarily puts up a Christmas Tree, lights a Menorah, or participates in any other religious traditions, Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for anyone in America to bring together loved ones for a meal.
Imagine – you’re sitting at a long wooden table as usual, but the wood isn’t a shiny finished surface, and you’re not in a house with central heating and electric lights. Your Great Aunt Mary isn’t sitting next to you, she probably didn’t survive the disease and malnourishment that swept through your people. Instead, next to you is the broad, tanned trunk of a strong and sturdy Native American by the name of Squanto. Your 18-pound Publix turkey might be there in a smaller, wilder version, or plates of duck, goose, and mussels. Without sugar, no cranberry sauce could be made. No flour or butter also meant no pumpkin pie, although pumpkins would have been present in some form. Potatoes, white or sweet, were still slowly making their way out of South America and had not reached your table.
Although not called Thanksgiving until 1789, this was the most genuine “thanks giving” celebration in American history. Two groups came together as one in celebration of the pilgrims first successful harvest, and to thank Squanto for everything he had taught them (which was literally everything.) In the spirit of a true Thanksgiving, I hope you all put aside any differences you may have. Reach out to distant friends and acquaintances and wish them well. Make an extra effort to brighten someone’s day. Let the people in your life know exactly how much you appreciate them. Take some time today to think about what Thanksgiving is all about. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!