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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Thanksgiving Therapy

Thanksgiving is like therapy in many ways.  It soothes the soul.  We pause to reflect, thinking about what really matters in life, and expressing gratitude for things that are often beyond our control, yet turn out well.  Cultivating gratefulness will never go out of style, in my book.

Did you have a good day?  Whether it was with family and friends, or peacefully on your own, I hope it was meaningful.  No need to have a crowd to bring out the china, or light a candle on the table.  But I probably wouldn’t have a turkey the size of Texas if it were only for me, myself and I.

Maybe I’d go out to eat.  Have you ever eaten at a restaurant on Thanksgiving?  I’ve been in many parts of the world on this holiday, and not always under the best of conditions.  Once, we were in Florence, Italy, and it was absolutely delightful—the two of us, a favorite restaurant, personal attention from the maitre-d’.  How could you not be thankful to be in Firenze for Thanksgiving-?!  A gentleman seated nearby almost ruined it, complaining about being out of the US for Thanksgiving, unable to order anything on the menu since he didn’t read or speak Italian.  As I remember it, we rescued him from himself, so that he could enjoy a pleasant evening.

When we’re at home, we usually pull out our Native American and Pilgrim candles.  They may be kitschy, but they bring in a bit of history and groundedness.  Benedetto points out that the Pilgrims were giving thanks, not only for the harvest they had already received, but also that they were praying in faith that they would survive through the next winter. (And our biggest issue was if we could stay awake through the course-after-course meal-!)

This year, while the bird was in the oven, I did some holiday crafts with the kids.  That’s how much I want them to have happy memories of childhood.  Talk about sacrifice.  Actually, I wanted a good reason to sneak a Hershey’s kiss.  So we designed acorns from mini-Keebler cookies (which we couldn’t locate anywhere, so we ended up chopping them into tiny discs) and Hershey’s kisses.  Then the children dreamed of Russian mushroom-gathering expeditions into the “less” (forest), back in the homeland, as they flipped the materials, and out came fantastic fungi.  Naturally, liberal taste-testing was involved.

Yet again, we enjoyed my husband’s squash soup of several varieties, which the children always swoon over when I place our initials in Russian on the top.  They inevitably ask for seconds and if they might decorate their own.  I consider whether we should wash the bowls first, but everyone else wants to live dangerously and let the old soup swash around the edges….   So Petya makes an angel, Pasha creates a snowflake, Mashenka goes with a heart, and Sashenka… well, she doesn’t ask for seconds since squash would fall into the vegetable food group.

Everyone takes a turn praying around the table, and naturally, I end up sobbing. (I was never like this….)  The children have lately been asking pointed questions about how those who were to care for them in the past could have a cell phone and e-mail, but never had anything to feed them.  How could the children have lived through the Russian winter and not even had a coat?  Why were they never sent to school?  Why were they systematically starved? etc.

And then I hear their young voices giving thanks.  Afterwards, I leave the table to touch-up my makeup, now sliding down my face into the soup.

All in all, it was a lovely day, replete with traditional stroll around the neighborhood following the feast.  The dogs passed out in utter exhaustion from smelling the turkey cooking all day.  They have a hard life.  We geared up for Pasha’s birthday which falls on Saturday and which we decided to celebrate today, on Friday, so we had baking a cake and wrapping presents to add to the festivities.  We should all sleep well tonight!

How was your Thanksgiving?



6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    Sometimes long-term plans can’t take place when a health issue comes into play. We had wonderful plans to be about an hour and a half from home to celebrate Thanksgiving with lots of family and friends. But, earlier in the week, my husband knew he had a kidney stone and then it got complicated. When he had to stay in the hospital and have a scary procedure that is merely a pre-cursor to a couple of more hospital procedures, we knew we best not be far from home. Our son and daughter-in-law decided to stay in the area with us and make a whole dinner for all of us on 1 days notice. It wasn’t the Thanksgiving we expected but we are grateful that my husband is out of the hospital and hopeful that the next 2 procedures get rid of the problem. As always, health issues make you know what you really need to be thankful for in life.

    • avatar admin says:

      Oh, I’m sorry you guys had to go through that, Sybil, but so glad that he came through it fine. And what wonderful kids you have to be so flexible! You’re smart to stay close to home when you sense something is not right. We’re going through different but similar issues with an SUV that’s fine when we’re close to home, but then seems to have real troubles any time we’re over an hour from home and on a tight schedule! This, too, shall pass…. 🙂

  2. avatar Kathleen says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! I may have to try your acorns, they look so cute and yummy. We didn’t travel this year either, but all the kids were home and we were joined by dear friends and their family, including a 17-day-old baby, and it was lovely and wonderful.

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, Kathleen, that sounds so special! We’re on the go so much, I like when we can stay home. If you try the acorns, they are held together by any kind of frosting. The stems can be little cut pieces of licorice stuck in a hole, again with icing. (Can’t go wrong when there’s icing involved-!)

  3. avatar Sybil says:

    I like the saying, “this too shall pass” and now if only it would apply to the stone. Still waiting….3 surgeries later and another coming up.

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