Giving Thanks and Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in the US (and Canada), and we are celebrating here. It is a holiday of family and friends coming together to enjoy each other’s company and to give thanks for our blessings.

Traditional foods include roast turkey, stuffing (aka dressing if baked outside the bird), mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie.

Seems like every family, or region of the country, has their favorite foods. Some swear by macaroni and cheese or sauteed greens. Others  must have a green bean casserole made with canned concentrated mushroom soup and topped with french fried onions.

Still others maintain it isn’t Thanksgiving without candied yams and sweet potatoe pie. A friend I met here always serves the pumpkin soup of her husband’s family.

While this is our second November in Den Haag, today was our first Thanksgiving dinner. In earlier posts I wrote of my search for pumpkin and turkey. I’ve spoken of getting ready for Thanksgiving last year. But we never did have that Thanksgiving dinner.

My father had become ill the week before Thanksgiving last year. He underwent cardiac surgery which seemed to go well. But immediately afterwards it all went awry.

Things were fixed, but he didn’t seem to respond. It looked bleak. Very bleak.

I ended up catching an early morning flight back to the US last Thanksgiving to join my family at his bedside. 

After a layover in the UK, I arrived in the US. I’d been worrying and praying virtually non-stop for days, and I was filled with dread.

I arrived to a bit of good news, a small change in his condition that gave us a tiny glimmer of hope. It’s a long story but my father eventually woke up, without brain damage.

Within days he was transferred to a rehab hospital. Weeks later he was able to go home. With continued hard work in rehab and determination, within a couple months he was almost completely recovered. 

Back here in Den Haag, Husband, Son and Daughter had chosen not to have Thanksgiving dinner without me. How much of that is attributable to my not being there to cook, and their not being in the mood, I’ll never know.

So this year is finally our first Thanksgiving dinner in the Netherlands.

We had a marvelous dinner today, making all of our favorite foods. Sometimes we had to make minor adjustments because we didn’t have exactly what we would have used in the US.

But it didn’t matter, and it all turned out wonderfully.

We gave thanks for so very many things. Family, friends, continued employment, health, great educational opportunities, the ability to travel and explore and marvel at the world we live in.

And you can be sure that my father’s recovery is something I give thanks for each and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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