Today is Thanksgiving in the States. The Pilgrims arrived in the new world in 1621 and were even more lost than I was when I arrived in Switzerland. Everything was different. The climate, the crops, the wildlife like wild turkeys which roamed the region. The story taught in U.S. schools is that the Indians, the Wampanoag’s, taught the Pilgrims to plant corn and to hunt. They reached a treaty to protect each other from their enemies. In fall the first crops were ready for harvest. The Pilgrims invited the Indians to share a meal of their first rewards to thank the Indians for teaching them the ways of their new land. That celebration has evolved into our Thanksgiving holiday, on the fourth Thursday of November. It continues to be a day of sharing, helping one another and being thankful for what we have.
We take part in filling food banks, turkey trots, and feeding those less fortunate. Every meal begins in prayer and thanks. So far so good.
We reward ourselves by eating like pigs. We stuff ourselves until moving is more difficult than climbing out of a sink hole. A good excuse to opt to lay in front of the 110 inch flat screen watching the NFL Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl. Why?
Thanksgiving's main attraction is the meal. Turkey with giblet gravy and cornbread dressing (for all you non- southerners out there, I think you call it stuffing) are the stars of the show. Sweet potatoes baked with pecan or marshmallows; green bean casserole topped with crispy fried onions, broccoli rice casserole, carrots, relish trays with stuffed celery, pickled beets round out the main course. Pecan, Kentucky derby pie and pumpkin pie, complete a perfect southern meal. Oh my mouth is watering. There is something about Thanksgiving that just beyond my realm of explanation.
What makes Thanksgiving so special? Is it the menu? Is it the company? Or feeling good about being there for others? My mama always made sure to invite recently widowed friends to the guest list full of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
I remember one year, Mama made the sweet potatoes with a bourbon crust instead of marshmallows. How could she? We were appalled and adamant – no changes allowed to our Krebs Thanksgiving Menu. None. Could that be what makes Thanksgiving so special? One day a year in our “change or lose society”, that continually remains the same? Or is it a holiday that represents everything wonderful about home? The best way for me to explain it is with the German word – gemütlich! One word in German replaces four in English; cozy, comfortable, homely, and pleasant. Yep Thanksgiving is a holiday we can count on and it is gemütlich.
P.S. Be aware, reality lurks behind the Thanksgiving curtain call. As Thanksgiving fades to black, the horrors of consumption at its ugliest come to light - starring Black Friday.