Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinners

It is three years in a row that we had Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house. Whether the dinner is in our house or other's house, it is usually a multi-family affair because for first generation immigrants like us, friends are our extended family. One advantage of having Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house is to meet people out of our circle - friends' friends. This time I met a guy who is a manager of a factory, another guy who loves hunting!

It was a very typical Thanksgiving dinner. On top of traditional Thanksgiving food, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato pie (in place of pumpkin pie), we had many many side dishes - salmon, chickens, pork rib, soup ..... all delicious. After dinner, the group naturally divided into three groups - wives were together in dinning room talking about kids, kids' education, religion ....; The husbands formed another group in kitchen area talking about politics, sports, and hunting - a rare topic to me...; Kids were glued together by the video games.

I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Over the years, two of the dinners are most memorable to me - my first ever thanksgiving dinner, our first Thanksgiving dinner after moving to Texas.

My first thanksgiving dinner was some 20 years ago, arranged by international student office at my school and hosted by a local family. It was a formal traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The host and hostess, along with their children and grand children, plus two international students sat by a huge dinning table. The host started the dinner with a prayer and giving thanks for a good year they had had. We had turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and bread, with plates passing around just like what I saw in movies. It was a cold Thanksgiving evening, I was however warmed by the host family's kindness and generosity. How I wished then that I would one day celebrate Thanksgiving with my own family.

Several years ago, we moved to Texas, starting a new chapter in our life. As our first Thanksgiving at Texas was approaching, our old friends from our graduate school years, invited us to have Thanksgiving with them at their Oklahoma home. On the way to their home, I felt like I was on the way to visit a relative, to visit my brother and sister, just like millions other Americans on the road that day. The Thanksgiving dinner was a formal one. Their family including grandparents and ours, total of 10 people sat by the dinning table celebrating Thanksgiving. Since we had not seen each other after we graduated. it was also a reunion. We took many pictures during that visit. One photo I liked the most from the bunch is one that the two couples, each with their younger kid in laps, sat in a living room sofa. We looked young, healthy and content. Sadly, our hostess passed away earlier this year.

To me, Thanksgiving dinner symbolize "Family togetherness", "Enjoy our life" and "Be thankful for what we have and cherish them".

Be Thanksful and Give Thanks!

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