Remembering Thanksgiving – The Good, the Bad, The Ugly

Like most people, I have my share of Thanksgiving memories, encompassing the whole range of emotions – joyful, painful, embarrassing, curious, mildly amusing.

The years that I have spent the holiday “alone” have usually fallen into the “interesting” category;  one year I went to Waffle House in the middle of the night for my ‘feast, and ended up reflecting on the holiday and America in general.  It was a couple months after Hurricane Katrina, and the folks gathered at the WH were grateful to have a hot meal of any kind.

My first Thanksgiving living in China was both interesting and fun; a local restaurant in Guangzhou (Canton) served up their take on the American spread to a group of ex-pats.  It was great fun.

My favorite Thanksgiving ever was one my daughter prepared, she was about ten, and she had planned an entire day of non-stop feasting, with the only assistance from the big people coming in the form of a couple of runs to the grocery store.  She prepared perhaps thirty different items, from breakfast, thru lunch, snacks, and the traditional feast.  She had written down the entire food list on a scrap of paper that ended up stained with food and beverages at the end of day, that piece of paper is one of my most treasured possessions.

A year after Katrina, money was tight, and my squeeze du jour and I went to a fancy grocery store, and bought tasty morsels in small increments – a buck worth of this, $3 of that, and had a fabulous ‘tapas’ style dinner with all sorts of delicacies.

Two years ago, a friend hosted a huge potluck, and it seems everyone was very accomplished in the kitchen, and it was a wonderful night, with great people, close friends, and tasty foods.   Evolving it into the weirdness category, a bunch of us left dinner and went to a local dive tavern, and grazed thru the bar’s Thanksgiving dinner. That was a good one.

There was one in Hong Kong, I spent the day cooking, my girlfriend was at work, and came home about 11 PM.  I had assumed we would celebrate the day, and wasn’t aware it was never a significant thing for her.  Oh well.

Last year, 2012, totally forgettable, a bunch of people, none of whom wanted to be around the others, some ersatz relatives, people dropping by for dinner even though they had already had two or three elsewhere.  It was the last Thanksgiving I would have in the city and house that I had lived in for the longest single stint I had spent in one place in my adult life. Exile came weeks later.

This year, a return to normalcy, beyond normalcy, in a posh tropical seaside resort, surrounded by people I love and who love me, unconditionally, always have, and always will.   The food will be a splendiferous feast of lobster, shrimp, tropical fruits,  a pig roast on the beach, accompanied by an unending supply of umbrella drinks.

I am blessed.  This is heaven. A destination I deserve after seven years in hell.




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