Thanksgiving 2021

Today is Thanksgiving 2021. Let’s put aside the underlying issues with the holiday in the United States because they are legion and outside the blog post. I have issue with it, too. However, by the end, I hope to expound why I try to give it a new reverence. Growing up, like most Americans I was given the flossy candy version of Native Americans helping out Pilgrims who were hungry. My daughter who is, at the time of this writing, in first grade was given the same simplistic definition. She’ll learn later on if public schools in Kansas are still what they are that it’s not as simple.

But I digress!

When I met my wife a number of years ago, she never celebrated it. First, it was too expensive for her meager budget at the time. Second, she still, despite being a citizen for at least a decade, viewed it as an American only holiday. For those who do not know me, she, and her side of the family, of course, are Togolese. When I met her, I invited her to my aunt’s house where we celebrated it with my side of the family. After that experience, she seemed to be sold. Additionally, it helped that together with our meager fortunes could make for a grand experience on our own. We’ve celebrated it every year since. Even if she works like this year, which, God willing, will be her last year working on it for a long time.

Now, her entire family that is here in my municipality are celebrating with us. Everyone is bringing something. It’s beautiful because it is truly an American experience because I know my mother-in-law will bring some uniquely Togolese food.

Because I cannot be trusted to cook from scratch, I bought food from Hy-Vee for today. Again, they’re bringing Togolese food. They’re all excited. See, for me, Thanksgiving and Christmas were the two times of the year that my dysfunctional household I grew up in did not fight. We were a family. My semi-newly minted family does not fight as much except as families do. However, they seem excited to do this American tradition that, like others, is sullied by the past but can be remade. It’s old and new traditions merging together to form something beautiful. This is the United States of America I want to live in and actually see happening for the future.

Author: caranmegil

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