Thanks for the Turkey! 

Thanks for the Turkey!
I know I have to be thankful for something… I think the turkey is ready!

As much as I have tried to assimilate to the American life—I still don’t like football and I hate BBQ food—it has been difficult, but… when my son was born in 2011, my heart grew roots deeper than the oak named “Big Tree” in Texas.

From that moment on, the family traditions that my husband, my son, my dogs, and yours truly have built, are the blue prints of my identity.

Now, I must confess; for many years I didn’t like celebrating Thanksgiving. Since I arrived to the United States in 2005, this was the holiday I considered “for gringos only” because I didn’t understand the meaning and I cared too little to Google it. But things have changed, and now I think observing Thanksgiving is observing life itself for two main reasons.

First, because I didn’t grow up in the USA, there are many aspects of Americana that I have had to learn. The good thing is that alongside my little man, we are learning them together as if I were his age. We were both introduced to Dr. Seuss’ magical world of words, the “knock-knock’ jokes–that I still don’t get and neither does he–and also,  the importance of Thanksgiving.

My son’s First Thanksgiving Recital at preschool lured me into the spirit of this holiday. How could I not fall in love with it after seeing my son dressed up as a little Indian, with a feather-hat and painted face, dancing to the music from the drums with his genetic Latin feel?

Moreover, this date is so important for him, that he didn’t want to hear my excuse for missing this year’s recital. When I picked him up from school he asked me, vehemently, “Why didn’t you come to the Thanksgiving Celebration?” I learned my lesson.

Now, the second reason is simple and it satisfies a physiological need: The Turkey. Just the thought of its juicy, golden skin, bronzed to perfection–thanks to my husband’s skill which he has perfected over the years–makes me drool like a dog.

In addition, I mastered my mother-in-law’s sweet potatoes casserole and Italian stuffing, so when my husband and his kids ask if I am making them, it makes me feel good. But, more than the day itself, I love eating the leftovers of turkey in a biscuit sandwich with coffee for the rest of the weekend–wearing spandex of course.

Thanksgiving is a unique holiday that sets the United States apart in the world. The history behind this date couldn’t be more relevant to the times we are living today, in a world where religious liberty is being threatened in every corner of the world.

However, as deep as its meaning is, Thanksgiving is really an eating contest. The moment the big bird is set on the table, guests turn into starving, homeless people who fill their plates with incredible amounts of food that is eaten as one meal. For a few hours, the blood streams of people around America flow only into the stomach to digest the grotesque quantities of proteins, carbohydrates, and sweets.

Actually, if you want to take advantage of someone or get a deal done, do it during the Thanksgiving feast. Believe me, there are not many neurons left in  one’s brain to think about important decisions. If I am asked, I could probably give the deed to my house to our arch-enemy.  

Anyway… whether I celebrate Thanksgiving just to eat or to be with my loved ones, I always think about all the good and the bad things that happened to me during the year and thank God. I think about our family, our health, and our triumphs, big and small.

Back in 1621, the Pilgrims from the Mayflower celebrated with their Wampanoag Indian mentors, for their survival, and perseverance against all odds. They fled England because they refused to live under the authoritarianism of that time and ended up pursuing the so popular “American Dream” without knowing it.

So, natives and immigrants, let’s raise a turkey leg and say cheers to America. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

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