Connie Goldin © 2010, Mom to Madre
It feels like a real fall day in San Diego today. We have rain and wind and the palm fronds are dropping. I live along the coast. When it is blustery, the sea birds sail and soar on wind and at times can be held aloft to the point they appear completely still. I am always thankful to be able to see the ocean and all of its wonder. November in San Diego is beautiful and we are lucky to celebrate Thanksgiving with mild weather.
Thanksgiving is a holiday all Americans share. Thanksgiving doesn’t belong to a specific religion, ethnic group, culture, or political party. You can roast, deep fry, barbeque, smoke, or cook your turkey in the ground covered with banana leaves, Hawaiian style, and still have a “traditional” Thanksgiving meal. It doesn’t matter if you prefer ham or turkey or jalapeño stuffing over sausage. You can buy a kosher turkey, a halal turkey, a free-range or even a wild turkey. Everyone gets in the act. In most cities and towns, organizations give turkeys or serve complete meals to needy families. Many families invite guests who may otherwise be alone. The important act is to come together as a community to share in the expression of thankfulness.
When I was a child we always sang The Doxology-“Praise God from whom all blessings flow”-at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember my grandfather’s deep bass voice. It is a tradition that carries over into my own family. The deep voice we are lucky to hear now belongs to our oldest son.
My husband’s family would say a beautiful Jewish prayer:
Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam shecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higyanu
Praised are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, for granting us life, for sustaining us, and for helping us to reach this day.
The meaning of this prayer always touches me, speaking as it does to the poignancy of being with loved ones on Thanksgiving. It isn’t important in which language the prayer is said, or what religion it comes from. The message is the same: We are vulnerable, life is uncertain; being together on this day is a great blessing.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for families. There is an important
message to be taught and an opportunity for building a family tradition. We are all Americans and we are blessed to live in this great nation. It is an opportunity for parents to explain why our way of life must not be taken for granted. It is such fun to share a big feast and to talk to children about the original colonists- the Pilgrims- and the help they received from the original Native Americans. Thanksgiving offers parents a chance to tell their children about their own ancestors, where they came from, and why they came here.
Every year, all over the country, Americans enjoy a day filled with food, family, friends and football. Many families have members who are in the Armed Forces and are in far-flung places serving our nation. We say a special “Thanks” to all of them and wish them a safe return home.
Whether you brine, baste, broil or buy, may your turkey be delicious and your day be filled with happy times among family and friends. No matter how you say it, it still means the same thing: Happy Thanksgiving and Feliz día de acción de gracias, from Mom to Madre.