Sunday, November 30, 2014

That Most American of Holidays: Thanksgiving

Growing up Thanksgiving was not a big deal in my family, as it was overshadowed by the importance of a gigantic Christmas when extended family from around the Midwest and East Coast came to visit and celebrate. When younger sis and I were in our later high school years and in college, Thanksgiving weekend typically meant traveling to whichever city was hosting the American Latvian Youth Association congress. I recall the very first congress I attended in Chicago -- I must have been in my third year of high school -- and there was actually discussion at the annual congress about changing the date of this event. One young man stood up to express his disdain of this suggestion by saying, "If the congress isn't held Thanksgiving weekend, what are we supposed to do then? Actually sit home and eat turkey with our parents?!"
That enormous bowl in the middle was later filled with mashed potatoes!
In the time I've lived in the DC area, I have traveled out of town at Thanksgiving only twice. Many different friends have kindly invited me to their homes over the years for delicious Thanksgiving dinners. This year I spent the evening with good friends who typically have a house full of relatives, and this holiday was no exception. Sincere laughter and fantastic food were both plentiful. One of my favorite dishes were the green beans and pearl onions with balsamic vinegar; see a similar recipe here. I will not delve into some of the stories told and heated debates exchanged, as the participants may not wish to see those spread. ;-)

The master chef's son showing off the turkey
I am always grateful for all of my wonderful friends, but particularly on Thanksgiving. If you celebrate Thanksgiving by hosting a meal in your home, I urge you to look around your circle of friends and acquaintances, and invite individuals who don't have family in the area and might have not a place to go. This heartwarming story about a homeless man who went as far as to post an online ad looking for others with whom he could celebrate the day proves that Thanksgiving is a holiday which should be observed in a group.

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