Today my brother, sister-in-law and niece will be spending the day with my parents in small-town Illinois. I am as deeply envious as I can be, taking out the accompanying hassles of flying during this holiday, and having to get up early to drown the turkey. Or marinate it or whatever. Also there was the year that the dishwasher broke with 20 guests there, and the year that my parents swanned off to California leaving me to manage the floor resanding on the day after Thanksgiving.
That being said, for the second year now we have been invited to share Thanksgiving dinner with a Brazilian (wife)/American (husband) couple and several other friends. We will have the dinner this afternoon at around 5:30 which precludes any heavy drinking or eating as we all have work/school the next day. Last year the afternoon was wonderful--the kids playing together, all of us pitching in to get the meal on the table. And the gobbler was good.
We have another bonus this year because other friends are also having a Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. All bets are off for that one because if you're going to start the party at 1 pm on Saturday, and invite Brits, make sure you have a designated driver. By the way, while Brazil does have a name for Thanksgiving ("Dia de Ação de Graças"), it makes no attempt to have its own version here. Why would they? They have it any given Sunday.
I remember well trying to explain the holiday to my in-laws 15 years ago. "The whole family gets together, and we cook all day, and then we sit around and tell stories, then we clean up and then we eat leftovers for a week." And they looked at me blankly and then glanced around the table. The whole family was there for Sunday lunch, we had cooked the whole day, we had sat around telling stories, and then we cleaned up. And were going home with já te vi (leftovers). Seriously, any given Sunday. So it's not a holiday that would mean anything here.
It means something to me. I am thankful for many people and many things. Today and any given Sunday.
Happy Thanksgiving, USA!