One of the challenges of being a committed traveler is the difficulty of having an authentic holiday experience. Given the absence of family and friends while visiting a faraway land \, commemorative traditions from my home country often seem meaningless. How could I watch American football in a soccer – crazed Irish pub? How could I cook a turkey along the route of a frozen Alpine trail? Why would I shop for bulky gifts at Heathrow Airport if carrying them in my backpack would load me down more? What sense would there be in shooting fireworks in a Paris neighborhood that is on high alert about terrorism?
As Thanksgiving draws nearer, my bags are predictably packed but my mind will not follow. I recollect fond memories of this holiday in various stages of my life. As a child, I recall giving my seat up politely for elderly family members at the long, eating table. From my teen years, there was the time when my mother was too sick to make the traditional turkey dinner, so I helped my father nervously prepare a tasteless soufflé for the awaiting family. As a working adult, when fiery discussions ensued following meaningless football games, new friendships were made and old ones solidified. On the days leading to Thanksgiving this year, I distributed free turkeys to homeless individuals at a local food bank in the spirit of volunteering.
It is apparent to that Thanksgiving has always been for me a search for benevolent action rather than a lavish feast of celebration. Find a new friend, feed a starving child , and accept the challenge to support a worthy cause are the real messages that I wish to continue on this All – American holiday. It seems right to find my way home on Thanksgiving in this time of global uncertainty
Jim, So eloquent. Thank YOU!