to join your family
Thanksgiving is more than a celebration of friends and family. It's an opportunity to welcome in both our neighbors and passing strangers to share food, stories and recipes.
The first Thanksgiving in the Plymouth Bay colony wasn't families in their individual cabins.. It was a feast of 53 Englishmen and around 90 Wampanoags dining together as a community.
Growing up, my father was on the coaching staff of two Major League Baseball teams. In part, that meant every Thanksgiving our table was surrounded not only by my parents, grandparents and siblings, but also "stragglers," as my mother called them – those who couldn't make it home or had no where to go. Often we'd have more than one. Our typical dinner would an infielder from San Francisco a third-base coach from Denver a pitcher from Cuba.
My personal favorite was the four players from the Dominican Republic who mistakenly thought our pet parakeets and cockatiel might be after-dinner delicacies.
Watching my mother explain in hand gestures and extremely broken Spanish the difference between pets and poultry still makes me smile.
Six years ago, I celebrated my first Thanksgiving in the Verde Valley. Rather than go back to my mother's home to Chandler, I stayed in Sedona and celebrated with my new group of 20-something friends, most of whom lacked the time or funds or both to make it home. While a first for me, that hodge-podge potluck Thanksgiving was part of long tradition among my circle of friends and one we're planning on celebrating again Thursday, Nov. 26.
However, I'll see the holiday through fresh eyes this year. My girlfriend – a Canadian – will celebrate her first Thanksgiving in the United States. While Canadians celebrate a Thanksgiving holiday, our American flavor is new to her. In looking through our newspapers, she was surprised at all the local churches, businesses, food banks, nonprofits and clubs offering free turkeys, full dinners or financial assistance to individuals and families in need.
This Thanksgiving, rather than just your extended family and friends, invite your neighbors to join.
Attend or volunteer at one of the Thanksgiving banquets the Verde Valley offers.
Donate a turkey, turducken or tofurkey to a food bank or nonprofit.
Just stay away from the parakeets.
Assistant News Editor
Sedona Red Rock News
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