Seating for twenty-two has been scavenged from around the apartment complex, tables (three of which are borrowed) are covered with oilcloth and set with plastic cutlery, cranberry sauce has been made, stock for gravy is simmering on the stove top, and the turkey has been stuffed and is currently roasting in my little oven.
Turkey sellers on market day in Tlacolula de Matamoros, Oaxaca – Oct. 26, 2014.
Neighbors, a former neighbor, and the latter’s Oaxaqueño coworkers will be bringing another turkey, more stuffing, potatoes (mashed and sweet), pumpkin pies, and beverages. Now to put together a playlist which, naturally, will include Arlo Guthrie’s, Alice’s Restaurant Alice’s Restaurant Massacree — a turkey day family tradition since 1967.
Inevitably our guests will ask, “So what exactly does Thanksgiving celebrate?” Do we continue to pass along the myth or do we explain the inconvenient truth, “that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies.”
Then there is the question, “How is this holiday celebrated in the USA?” The following holiday rituals will no doubt be described: Many televisions will be tuned to the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade of giant balloons and traditional turkey day football (North American) games. And, as soon as the last piece of pie has been eaten, growing numbers people will be racing to the nearest shopping mall or computer to take advantage of early-bird “Black Friday” pre-Christmas sales.
However, in between the above, there is always dining table conversation — catching-up stories, old and new jokes, loving reminiscences, and the occasional arguments over politics and/or religion. But, as the folks at the Presente.org Team wrote in an email to their subscribers this morning, for Latinos in the USA, “Thanksgiving dinner might be hard when you’re sitting across the table from a loved one who was left out of the President’s executive action. When the subject comes up, don’t drown your sorrows in a bottomless pitcher of gravy. We created a graphic to help you have that tricky conversation.”
Besides my wonderful family, friends, and blog readers, I am extremely grateful to be a guest in a country where, amidst the beauty and warmth of its people and land, it’s almost impossible to ignore awkward and difficult truths. ¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias a tod@s!
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