Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Tahnkzgeeveen

Today is Thanksgiving... in the United States. It's not like Christmas, or Easter, or even Armistice Day because it's a celebration unique to North Americans. Because of that, it's a lonely day in these parts. And I couldn't scare up a soul last night on email, skype or facebook; everybody was busy with their preparations. At times like these, I have to continually remind myself that it was my choice

When I was a child, I hated Thanksgiving. It was a boring holiday where friends disappeared from view and the ONLY thing to do was watch a parade on TV in the morning and then EAT. To make it worse we were usually relegated to the "children's table" which never pleased me. Especially when we were with relatives whose children were as boring as a boiled turkey.  We always got the card table, a rickety affair that threatened to buckle under the weight of the food and the benign conversation. Oh, how I hated the "kid's table"; adult conversation was far more interesting. Afterwards, the women would clean up, the men would sit around in a half-stupor, and I'd have to find something to do with those same, boring kids. Yawn. And just when I thought it was all going to come to a thankful end, the women would start reheating food and it was time to eat again. 

Fast forward to adulthood as a mom with children. I LOVED Thanksgiving. It became a holiday that we shared with not only family, but neighbors, friends and anyone else that just had nowhere to go. It always did my heart good to have the people that I cared about around my table (or tables as the case often was). As an adult, I came to understand what "thankful" really meant. 

We began the tradition of playing the "Turkey Bowl" in the neighborhood, a football game that involved each and every person and some we imported from other neighborhoods. Those that didn't want to play, took their places on the sidelines with a glass of wine or a cosmo and took up the serious job of cheering. Whenever the suggestion was made that this year we might possibly go elsewhere for Thanksgiving, my kids and all the neighbor kids dug in their heals. "We can't miss the Turkey Bowl!"   

When I left my old life, leaving my Thanksgiving tradition was probably the most difficult thing. But it doesn't mean I'm not thankful. And as I imagine my family and friends around their tables this year...

I'm thankful for my health and my still-imagined youth.

I'm thankful for the 2 creatures born of me that have become such interesting and wonderful men.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to make choices in my life. Even if they sometimes make me feel sad.

I'm thankful for the blue sky in Provence and the brilliant, crispness of Minnesota winters.

I'm thankful for the gift of observation and the realization that it's a gift.

I'm thankful for peanut butter, fois gras and good red wine.

I'm thankful for a lifetime of the best memories ever. And the continued ability to remember them!

I'm thankful for a peaceful, exceptional childhood.

I'm thankful to have sweet memories of my gentle father, a mom who still kicks my ass from time to time, and a sister who is my best friend.

I'm thankful for the internet which allows me to remain close to those I love.

I'm thankful for those who have been my family whenever I've had to be away from my family of birth.

I'm thankful for lifelong friends who are always there in spite of distance and change of circumstance.

And I'm thankful for the promise of the future. Whatever it may bring.

Thanksgiving is a moment to push away those things that threaten to consume us...the negative things...and take a moment to thank whomever it is we choose to thank for all that has made our lives good. Past, present and future.

Today, as I was getting an insurance estimate for my new car, I was told I need an attestation that I've been previously insured in my country. I replied that I might not be able to get it until next week because today is a big celebration in my country and nobody is working.  The insurance agent smile and said, "Yes, that's true. Today is the Tahnkz-gee-veen".  At that moment, just having somebody here know that it's Thanksgiving, gave me a little turkey buzz!

So, Happy Tahnkz-gee-veen to all, wherever you may be.  We all need a day to count our blessings and I, for one, am thankful for you all.



  1. As usual, well said (don't forget the Packers though). Enjoy your day.

  2. Very nice Delana...I too hated and dreaded those Thanksgivings as a child. We would have 30 people at my grandmothers, and yes, the dreaded children's table. But in my case, the "grown ups" table wasn't much better!!!
    And now, I get to cook my very own turkey and then...... have turkey SOUP! That's the best part of all!!

  3. I hope your boring cousins don't read this blog !
    Jeanmarie xoxo

  4. Dennis-Well of course I'm thankful for the Packers. Geez!

    LibbY-I'm glad I'm not the only one. I always felt sort of guilty.

    Jeanmarie-they weren't really my cousins. They were cousins of cousins of aunts of something or other. But we didn't have many relatives who lived nearby. I guess they were the only choice!

  5. I was the oldest child in the family, thus the only child, which, luckily, gave me a spot at the adult table at grandma's house. I adored the after dinner adult conversations and we'd sit there for hours, every Sunday, actually.

    When I finally got cousins and a sister, I'd try to make myself scarce during table assignments. Good sport grandma would often go to the children's table. She probably liked that time with her grandchildren.

    I'm going with my sister and brother-in-law to the Community Hall today. It's truly a community meal and much fun.

    Thank you for bringing us your bit of Provence, and Go 9ers!

  6. We have so much to be thankful for..Happy Thankgiving to you,


  7. I've spent Thanksgiving alone too, but here in Spain. I miss Thanksgiving, but on the other hand, there are, like you say, lots of other things (and here, lots of other HOLIDAYS) to celebrate. I'm thankful for my health and my two cats who never cease to amuse me (unlike those boring children who I also had to sit with).

  8. I'm thankful for you, Delana! For your friendship and your great stories and musings. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. You're right, having someone here say, "Happy Tahnkz-gee-veen" really helps make the day suck a little less! Turkey bisous! x

  10. I'm amazed that person knew! I'm sure there aren't that many. I know it always passed me by until I started working for an American company and got the day off. :)

  11. Your description of your childhood Thanksgiving made me laugh. I know that you're alone in Provence and that must make you sad, but here in the US, without any family around except my boys, it was little lonely too. I decided to make the best of it. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean and ate in front of the TV. I did tell them they needed to name one thing they're thankful for before I handed them their plate. Next year, I'm at least setting the table in a festive way before we eat. Happy Sanksgiving!

  12. OMG Delana your T-day memories kiddie card table and all, sounded so much like the Tdays of my childhood. I agree Thanksgiving is the time of year that it is especially difficult to be so far from home. Since, I too, am from the Heartland, I can so relate to your Tday memories, feelings and blessing!

  13. Hello,
    I have enjoyed my visit to your blog and look forward to looking through your online store! I have become your newest follower to keep up! I hope all goes well!
    God Bless,

  14. FYI, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving too, so it is not exactly uniquely American, although our holiday is earlier, and not the huge extended family affair that it is in the US. We save that for Christmas. However, on all other respects, I think you just captured all our memories of being a kid a Thanksgiving.

  15. Lee- Your grandma was a good sport. She probably had memories of the children's table as well.The community hall is a great idea. Keeps the solitude at bay and introduces us to new people.

    Skint- Thank yo so much. And have I said welcome to my blog?

    Dvora- I know you understand what these holidays are like. In fact, there are a lot of us out there, aren't there?

    Paulita- Or maybe next year, you can set the TV trays! That should work.

    Suzie- Oh my, someone's thankful for me? Thank you Suzie and vice versa.

    Sara-"it makes the day suck a little less". I laughed so hard. I couldn't have said it better!

    Sarah-I was amazed too. And she was, I might add, very proud of herself.

    Pat- We wrote almost the same article on Thanksgiving, didn't we?

    Kathy-Thank you so much for joining me here. Can I ask how you came across my blog? Bienvenu

    Anon- I know they have Thanksgiving in Canada, because I used to have to cook the dinner when I worked there. That's why I said North America. I've always wondered if it was a much of a big deal there, though. My kids have often told me it's their favorite. Which surprised me!

  16. Did we sit at the same card table for Thanksgiving?! And then the same one at Christmas? Fellow expat Thanksgivinger misser and new follower, Laura

  17. I love that you are making your own Thanksgiving traditions in France. Kudos!


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