Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving? Not quite!

Yes, it is a seafood dinner. But the picture was taken in Florida in January. Or was it February? It is a perfect example of gluttony - and I'm the guilty one. But how I love seafood - and yes, I ate the whole assortment of crab, and oysters, and clams, and who knows what else.

But I think back to some thanksgivings as well. Like the time we were stationed briefly at Niagara Falls AFB. We lived in a motel - one room with a kitchenette.
No oven - just a cooktop. So what do you do when a friend brings you a pheasant for Thanksgiving? You pluck it and clean it - and then fry the pheasant. Sacrilege, you say? I can think of people who didn't even have that kind of opportunity.

Like us a couple or three years later. We were at a base in Illinois and it was the end of the month. We'd run out of money and I took my precious bowling ball to the local pawn shop. If memory serves correctly, I got five dollars, enough for franks and beans --- our thanksgiving feast for the year.

Then there was the time I drove to Detroit Thanksgiving weekend not long before we were married. I knew that Joyce's fmily was large but I never thought they would have to eat in shifts. First shift was the younger children (and me); second shift was mainly for people when they got home from work. It was wonderful and even more amazing that a family that large could truly celebrate Thanksgiving - so many people then could not - and do not even today.

Another thanksgiving was when I was overseas in Italy. The food in Italy was truly wonderful but we had to teach the cooks in our hotel how to cook American style. What a wonderful sharing experience we had with laughter, and fellowship, and joy
together, even with our differences in language and customs.

There was another time of separation - a time of great tension - over Thanksgiving.
Joyce and the children were at home feeling a sense of fear and I was on an aircraft carrier patrolling the seas south of Cuba during the Cuban Blockade. We are well fed aboard ship - Navy food is good, especially at Thanksgiving. But it was also a time when our hearts turned homeward, thinking of family, and wondering how they were faring with such separation and concern about the days ahead.

I think of Thanksgiving for our service personnel overseas - so many in harms way.
I think of our Army grandson who is looking toward shipment overseas sometime in the future. A second overseas assignment for him; he spent some time in Iraq and gained a purple heart award in the process. And I think of other families whose sons or daughters serve our country - especially families who have lost loved ones in their service. And I look back at the picture above and think how lucky I am - how thankful I am that we have soldiers, and Marines, and sailors, and airmen who care enough about their country that they give of themselves for you and me.

Let this be not just a time to eat - but a time to reflect on the blessings we have
and to share our wealth and health with others.

Just like the friend who brought a pheasant to our motel room so we would have a Thanksgiving meal - even when it ended up being fried.

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