Friday, November 27, 2009

What are you thankful for?

The Thanksgiving holiday has just past. It is a time for giving thanks for all the blessings of life. Of course, living most my life on St. Kitts, Thanksgiving was something I was never exposed to until I moved to the US over a decade and a half ago. Even then we celebrate it in typical Caribbean fashion: with a giant party.

The entire extended family: mother, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, cousins, friends and acquaintances would meet at my oldest sister's house. Sometimes the number of guests exceeded forty. The only thing traditional at the meal is generally the turkey; everything else is Caribbean ranging from curried goat to sorrel. Instead of the often portrayed scene of everyone sitting around a table with a turkey in the center making polite conversations, folks sit on whatever surface is available: around various tables, on couches, even in the stairwell, often occupying different rooms. Multiple loud conversations occur simultaneously in accents so deep that the first time I invited my college roommate to our Thanksgiving dinner, she asked if we spoke a foreign language. Odd considering our only language is English. Sometimes, there's even music. And of course at the end of it all is the usual boisterous games of piggy and taboo. If all this sounds familiar, it is a scene I described in both "A Marriage of Convenience" and "From SKB with Love" in Holiday Brides.

Somewhere amid all the partying and good time around this Thanksgiving holiday, the true meaning of the holiday is often lost. But this year for me was different. A few weeks ago I posted a blog about my experience with coming home with a newborn to a house of folks suffering the swine flu. Most of my household including myself and my eighteen month old recovered from it without complications. I am thankful for that. The newborn did not get it and I am thankful for that.

We managed with the help of a few earthly angels. My next door neighbors watched the newborn for a few days while I was recovering. My youngest sister took a few days vacation and drove a several hundred miles to help out. Reflecting on those acts of kindness and the encouraging words and prayers of friends and family that helped us through a very rough time I realized just how much I had to be thankful for, especially this year.

I am thankful that God gave us good health.

I am thankful for the blessings of family and friends.

I am thankful that I got both a novel and a novella published in print this year.

I am thankful that in these though economic times both my husband and I still have jobs.

The list of things I'm thankful for goes on and on.

So what are you thankful for?

1 comment:

Liane Spicer said...

Glad your newborn escaped the swine flu, Jewel. That's one great thing to be thankful for.

Down here in the southern Caribbean we don't celebrate Thanksgiving either, but I was lucky to experience it twice in the US. The first time I was invited to the home of African American in-laws and they did the traditional thing. Reminded me of the way we celebrate Christmas back home, except that some of the food was different. I refused the sweet potato pie but the in-laws insisted that I take a piece home with me. I took a reluctant taste - and discovered it was wonderful! I never imagined the humble root could taste like that.

The second time I was in Miami again and was invited to an office celebration. The staff was made up of people from all over the world, and they each brought a traditional dish. That was interesting... and delicious! I particularly remember the empanadas (from an Argentinian staff member) and the hot (um, that's spicy to you Americans) Jamaican curry. It was a strange combination of food but a great experience.

I give thanks every day for all the blessings in my life. Maybe it's a symptom of growing older, but I no longer take anything for granted, least of all waking to a new day, in good health, with all my loved ones safe and sound. Everything else is gravy.