Thanksgiving to me.....
but I'm not going to let that keep me from wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
It's business as usual around here. Sort of a sad day. But I want you to enjoy every bit of your turkey, family, friends.
Happy Thanksgiving from Portugal,
And now.......from my favorite guest blogger, my husband.
It's Still Thanksgiving
Imagine having a 23 year old daughter, fresh out of college, living half way around the world in a land where virtually everything is foreign, different, and strange. It would be difficult enough seeing her go that far alone, but the desire to reach out and hug her or kiss her on the cheek must grow exponentially at certain times.
If you were in this situation, as a parent, wouldn't you want someone to be kind to your daughter or son, especially during the seasons of loneliness and depression that creep up around the holidays. If during no other time of the year, when Thanksgiving and Christmas arrive, people are vulnerable.
Separation hurts more when we notice that almost everybody we pass has a place to go celebrate, to make festive. We, as social beings, need family and friends. We desire a certain familiarity.
Do you want to spend Christmas alone in a restaurant struggling to communicate, while choking down grilled sardines or weird smelling salted cod? Without a doubt, at times, exotic can be good, but nothing beats a turkey dinner with sweet tea, topped off with banana pudding for desert. It might not be mom's, but yesterday we tried to make it as close to mom's as we could.
All of that and more, is why my wife spent all day in the kitchen yesterday, cooking, cleaning, and cooking some more. It was the day before Thanksgiving, a normal day here in Portugal, as is Thanksgiving day, but we invited three professional basketball players to spend part of the day with us. All three are Americans in their 20s, and none of them had plans for one of the most important American holidays that exists.
No, Portugal does not celebrate Thanksgiving. Most of the Portuguese folks have never heard of such a thing and when it is explained to them, we can tell that such a holiday seems a bit trivial.
So, Victor, John, and Amaka came over and ate way too much before having to go back to practice that evening. We didn't have the Macy's Day parade, neither did we have the Detroit Lions or the Dallas Cowboys, but we did have one another. We all spoke the same language and we ate familiar food. We laughed and reminisced.
They played Uno with the kids and drank fruit punch kool-aid until no white could be seen inside their mouths. When everything was said and done, we doled out more kool-aid packets of the preferred flavors, stuffed sandwich bags with homemade brownies and then loaded up the van to take them “to work.” While getting ready to go, the lamentations were both loud and heartfelt. One of the guys said that after a meal like that all he wanted to do was go back home, relax, and use the bathroom! So much for running up and down a basketball court and having someone yell at him in another language.
Coach didn't get much out of the star Americans last night, but all three of them now know that they are loved and that they have a home away from home. Mom and Dad probably won't ever read this article, but if by chance they do, I'd like to let them know that they can rest assured that we'll take care of their “young-uns” as if they were our own. Christmas is right around the corner, and they won't have to spend it alone.