Thursday, November 26, 2015

happy thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday. Interestingly, its one, I think, that immigrants 'fresh off the boat' have no trouble adopting with speed and enthusiasm. I remember as a child in New York going to a Thanksgiving dinner with my family at a friend's house when I was about five. The place was crammed with people - all Irish born adults with their children. Overwhelmed by the amazing turkey dinner with all the trimmings I engaged in some extravagant praise of our hostess:

'This is the best dinner ever!' I cried. 

She looked pleased. Ah yes, I had a way with words even then! Alas, I was still learning ... so I took things too far and added 'You really should learn to cook like this mom!'

My mother was decidedly cool with me on the way home. I tried to make amends by claiming I was just trying to be polite to our hostess, but no one was buying it, especially not my mom. Oh well; I'm sure she had forgiven me by the time I left home.

Of course, when we returned to Ireland a few years later, the holiday was pretty much forgotten. I think the next time it came up in conversation was when I was in Navy boot camp, nearly 20 years later. One of the other recruits - I'm thinking an Iowa farmboy, but I could be mis-remembering - asked how we celebrated Thanksgiving in Ireland.

'We don't,' I said, a little surprised he should ask.
'You don't?' he said, far more surprised than I. He peered at me earnestly through the thick-framed spectacles we called BC glasses.
'Of course not,' I said. 'Thanksgiving is an American holiday.'
He processed that for a while, his brow furrowed beneath the red stubble of his hair. Then he asked:
'So do you celebrate Christmas?'

Ah yes, happy days! 

I had great fun at Thanksgiving dinners during my times in the states and in the service. I have to say that things were made much simpler by the fact that I didn't go vegetarian until the final years of my time in uniform! But, of course, once back in Ireland the holiday went back into the mothballs of my mind as far as celebrating it was concerned. Still, I do make an effort to phone my one American friend living in Ireland to wish him a happy Thanksgiving - pretty much on the grounds that if I won't, who will? 

And this year I thought I'd do the same to all those out there reading the blog who are Americans - I know you have plenty at home who will as well, but I just thought I'd let you know there was someone in Ireland who is not only thinking of you, but knows what Thanksgiving is as well!

Therefore, from Ireland, may I wish you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! 

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