Thanksgiving season is upon us and with it will be many opportunities to gather with friends and family to enjoy a simple or extravagant meal. The original idea behind Thanksgiving was to use the occasion to express our gratitude for a bountiful harvest and share our good fortune by preparing a delicious meal and inviting loved ones over to join in the festivities. It is also a time for reflection; a time to be grateful for all the good things in our lives and offer a prayer of thanks and goodwill.
When I first arrived in the USA, I didn’t have family around and so my first Thanksgiving would have been spent in a college dorm alone with other foreign students; eating whatever the university prepared for us that weekend. Fortunately for me, one of my good college friends, Lisa G, invited me to her home for my first Thanksgiving meal. Initially, I was reluctant because I didn’t want to impose on a family event but she insisted and I’m glad I went because it was memorable.
“Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.” ~ Konrad von Gesner
Lisa G lived in Brooklyn and came from a very large and extended African American family. Lisa explained to me, as we prepared to leave for the subway that morning on our way to her family home, that everyone brings a dish or two, and her Aunts compete with each other to make the tastiest dishes and desserts for the occasion. She assured me there would be multiples of everything; including the traditional turkey. There were several prepared turkeys and the abundant food didn’t disappoint.
When we arrived at her family home, Lisa’s mom and and a couple of Aunts were running around in the large kitchen, grabbing pots and pans and putting things in the oven or fridge. There was excitement in the air and a rich aroma of spices, baked goods, and turkey dominated the space. We offered to help and were sent off to set the two tables in the dining area. Then we helped set up the drinks table; alcoholic beverages, eggnog, sodas, juices and water. After that, we helped chop vegetables; collard greens, onions, peppers, and such. While we helped out in the kitchen, guests and family members streamed in bearing large dishes of food; apple pies, sweet-potato pies, macaroni and cheese, green-bean salads, red velvet cake, carrot cake, and a turkey or two. We collected the food and added them to the growing display of food on the long side table. Hope You Have a Happy Thanksgiving! More below… 🙂
“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” –Henry Ward Beecher
Finally, Lisa’s mom announced that her turkey was ready and it was time for everyone to gather, get seated, give thanks and then dig into the extravagant feast. Everyone sat down, and Lisa’s dad and mom said grace and then the feasting began. We had all the typical, traditional foods you find at a Thanksgiving dinner; turkey with gravy, cornbread stuffing, mashed potato, sweet potato, mac and cheese, green bean salads, cranberry sauce, and a ton of desserts. What made this dinner unique, at least for me, was the fact that we had 3-5 variations of each dish… So there was a lot of food flying around. We were served small, tasting portions of each dish and comments were passed back and forth about the merits of each dish.
We took a short one hour break after the main food was served and eaten. The dishes were cleared, the table cloths changed, and place settings for the many desserts were placed on the two tables. Vats of coffee were brewed and other cold drinks were brought up from the basement. Then the exquisite desserts were laid on the table; apple, pumpkin and pecan pies, red velvet, carrot and cream filled cakes, banana cream and key lime pies. Cookies and a variety of pastries were placed in antimacassar lined baskets and placed on each dining table. I ate so much and had such a terrific time getting to know Lisa’s family that the memory and my gratitude for their kindness remain with me till this day.
It was a generous gesture and for my first Thanksgiving, it was an abundant blessing. As we prepare to celebrate another Thanksgiving, I invite you to consider inviting someone who might be alone, without family around, to join you. Share your good fortune and thanksgiving memories with others. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Stay Inspired! What about you? What are your thoughts? What are your memories of Thanksgiving? Do you prepare a special dish or let others do the cooking? What are you grateful for this season? Do share! Thank you. 🙂
This post was inspired by a prompt from MamaKat’s Writers Workshop: A favorite Thanksgiving memory.
Positive Motivation Tip: Hold your Thanksgiving memories close to your heart and offer a prayer of gratitude for all you hold dear.
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