Saturday, November 27, 2010


Bridget serving at our house on Thursday: Thanksgiving.

In one day, we pronounce thanks for all things, great and small.  This day, both solemn and celebratory in the USA is called "Thanksgiving".

Much of what the holiday is about has been lost in translation- the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock and building Plymouth Plantation and inviting their neighbors (and new friends) for a feast after harvesting bumper crops.  This is all told in half-truths, much like the bulk of American History.

Since I am a teacher at heart, I am most happy when I am given the chance to be teaching our South African friends about the first Thanksgiving.  It went down well, this year, after a true Thanksgiving feast, which we served.  The meal. a community effort, was: Roast Turkey and gravy (Bridget), Roast Beef (me), Cornbread (Bonnie), Asparagus pie (Lena), Beans, salsa, tamales, sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, chili rellano casserole, and cranberry and orange dressing (me).

After a Thanksgiving feast (think Fourth of July weather) in the heat, we convened in our living room for a quiz: some trivia on the First Thanksgiving.   The people who had come, twenty one in total, were given a written quiz about the whole affair, complete with Turkey trivia.  Most of the folks really enjoyed the chance to guess, and most did well guessing.  It was a lot of fun.  We later moved on to movie trivia: Scene It.  This is one of my favorite games:  testing  movie knowledge - another way that I am handicapped by knowledge.

Thanksgiving, in my mind, is a time for feasting and families.  A side game (as I was growing up) was to talk about things we were most thankful for.  In reality, the real underlying thankfulness was that we were all family- a gift in this world.

As I am separated by family by distance, my thankfulness is different. Since I am a lonely American surrounded by South Africans, since I am a lonely mother and grandmother, surrounded by people who have their kids and grandkids nearby....

I  am thankful for my husband, Mario -my best friend, my partner in ministry, my lover, my incredible wisdom in times of trouble...a man of God.

I am thankful for my children, who are not cookie-cutter images of who I wanted them to be, but instead, challenging examples of people who I would befriend and love in this world, despite our differences.

I am thankful for my parents, the chance to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary with all of our family in October.

I am thankful that at 47 I am a grandmother to Harmony, Alicia's daughter who is amazing and loving and every bit of her mother at her age.  I am thankful for Laila, Lilianna, and Lauren, my granddaughters by adoption, David's kids.  I am thankful they all know me and my laugh.

I am thankful that God in heaven saw fit to send His only Son to save me and love me and be the one who stands up for me in times of trouble. No matter what, I am saved by His incredible gift.

In all of this, I am so thankful.  I am thankful beyond my circumstances.

Thank you, Jesus.  Without You, this would all be worthless....