We will skip over the fact that I already cheated by celebrating one Thanksgiving in October -- Canadian style (thanks for the memories). And a nice celebration it was.
But it is now time to celebrate American Thanksgiving -- and I got a great start on Wednesday night. Thanksgiving Eve, if you will. Now, there is a holiday we need to add to the calendar.
An American friend, Jean (she of cinnamon roll fame: buttery buns on the beach), invited a few of her closest friends for Thanksgiving dinner at her house. The bargain was simple. If the invitees brought a side dish and their own beverage, she would provide everything else.
I do not come from a very large family. The most family members I have seen at a Thanksgiving dinner ranges around ten or so. We cannot even fill out a decent Last Supper tableau.
Jean's invitation garnered about 42 guests. And it was a diverse group. Well, as diverse as most expatriate groups are. I sat next to people I had never met before. Because they had just arrived with the snow bird migration.
As is true with all potlucks, there was enough food left over to feed a good portion of our small village. The turkey was very good, but Jean's sister brought a star attraction with her from Portland: a genuine bone-in ham. Her sister then whipped up some of the best pies I have ever tasted, including a blackberry pie made with fresh Oregon blackberries. I could not have asked for anything better at home.
Tomorrow, I will have another dinner at a local restaurant with our new pastor. I suspect the dinner will not come close to Jean's extravaganza.
And on Friday I may have one more. Reservations are still open for Saturday.
Thanksgiving is easily my favorite holiday. It is not encumbered with the sense of mandatory joyful gift-giving and fears that something is going to go wrong that will end up with half of the family in psychoanalysis for at least forty years. Christmas and Valentine's Day come to mind as the prime candidates for that type of fun.
To me, Thanksgiving is the holiday where you can get together with family, eat a nice meal, have great conversations, play a board game or two, and perhaps catch a football game. I cannot think of one Thanksgiving where disaster struck -- or, if it did, it was not met with humor.
For that reason, I will miss having dinner with my family tomorrow. But I can still be thankful for many things:
- That I have a family where I feel safe and loved.
- That I have a brother who is my best friend.
- That I have a group of marvelous friends throughout the world -- people who know me well from as long ago as grade school to as recent as this past year.
- That I have met a fascinating network of people through this blogging process -- people I would never have met, otherwise; some I have not met in person and may never meet; but people who I feel as close to as I do to some of my old friends.
- That I have had the opportunity to start this retirement adventure in Mexico and that I am prepared to take it to the next level.
- That I enjoy freedoms in Mexico that I would never enjoy in Oregon.
- And, most importantly, that the God I know has taught me that sharing His love is the most important thing I can do each day.
And I suppose I should be thankful that the weather is cooling down. That means I can get out on the road and walk a bit more to fight off the pounds that I hear sneaking up behind me.
Maybe that is why Thanksgiving is a holiday best served in daily portions.