Sunday, November 20, 2011


I love the Fall. I love running at sunrise on crackling leaves, I love scarves and sweaters, and I love football! My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and this year we have much for which to be thankful.

We had the joy of opening our home to 34 people on Saturday for an early Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an all-American holiday, so here in France, Thursday and Friday are regular work/school days. Our celebration was authentic in every way--except for the date.

We had a pot-luck, so I was only responsible for the Turkey (I roasted three--one the night before, and two the day of) and the gravy. But all the traditional goodies were on the menu--mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, and rolls. Oh yes, and an abundance of pies--apple, pumpkin, and pecan. I was most impressed with the pumpkin pie because Libby's Canned pumpkin does NOT exist in France. This pumpkin pie was made from scratch--starting with a raw pumpkin. 

Many of our guest were Franco-American families (one spouse is French, the other is American, and the kids have dual citizenship), but we also invited two American interns (single guys) who work at our boys' school. It was a full house!

Just before David said the blessing he told everyone that our family tradition is to take a minute to share something that we are thankful for while we eat our Thanksgiving meal. He encouraged our guests to to do this once they were seated. But we only had table space for those with small children, the rest of us were eating on our laps in the living room, with conversation moving in currents. By the time I sat down, I had forgotten David's instructions, and while the conversation was interesting and lively, we never got around to sharing what we were thankful for. Later, while in line for dessert, one of our teenage guests (a Franco-American kid) asked me, "What did you say that you were thankful for?"

 "Oh," I sheepishly replied," we forgot to do that! Did you guys do it?" 

He said, "Yes!" and then he proceeded to tell me what he had shared. 

It turns out that all of the teenagers, along with the two interns, had gathered in our game room to eat their meal--and they took turns saying what they were thankful for! I was delighted, not only by the fact that 7 guys, aged 13-22 took time to be thankful, but that they were so blessed by the activity that they were asking the others--the adults--what they had shared. 

After we ate, we played games. Many of the guys (including Graham and Chandler) went outside for a game of American football. They came back rosy-cheeked, skinned-kneed, and ready for a second go at the dessert table. I stayed inside for a rousing game of Scrabble.

This Thursday I'll be missing friends and family back home, but I will also be counting my blessings from afar. Blessings like the joy of celebrating Thanksgiving with new friends in France.

What are you thankful for?

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