Thanksgiving at Home

As I sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with the family today, I thought back to the one time when I was alone on this holiday.  It was back in 2006 (November 23rd) when I was living in Washington DC for my internship.  I was there from September though December.  I had my own apartment with a full kitchen which was different from the majority of the other interns who lived in dormitories with nothing more than a microwave.

Many were going to fly home for the Thanksgiving holiday and were given time off.  My co-intern-worker was going home to get married.  I didn’t make plans to go home for a few reasons.  1. I don’t fly and it takes the train 24 hours to get there and then 24 hours back so I’d actually be spending most of my Thanksgiving weekend on the train if I did that.  Sure I wouldn’t have minded because I love the train, but kind of pointless to do considering my internship would conclude three weeks later.   2.  The Money $.  My internship was unpaid so to purchase a round trip, first class ticket for 4 days would be beyond my budget.  My family understood and we had discussed it long before.

My sister knows how much I love Milwaukee pickles.  She was thoughtful enough to ship me a jar of pickles as a treat.  It was such a luxury from home.  

I hadn’t made many friends in the first 2 months I had been in DC so it was a really lonely time.  The other interns I was friends with weren’t very tight and was more contained to work time.  The entire internship away from home was the longest time I had ever been away and I thought that would be really difficult, but in reality I had managed pretty well, up to Thanksgiving.  I felt really really low.  

I was doing a good job in eating well, even though my pantry was limited.  On the side of a stuffing box I found a recipe for a turkey casserole so I decided I would go with that for my holiday meal.  It consisted of cubed turkey (similar to a pot pie), mixed with soup, vegetables and topped with the stuffing.  It was a delicious entree that took a long time to make and only 10 minutes to eat.  I don’t recall having any dessert, but I was enjoying dipping pretzels in chocolate frosting every other day.  

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I tried to stave off my loneliness by spending the morning visiting the Smithsonian museums, which had limited morning and afternoon hours.  At least then I was around people.  Albeit they were people of families and friends celebrating together and I was all by my self.  When you think about it, Friday was another day I was going to be alone.  Why did have to be so different because I was alone on Thursday??  I don’t know why it happens but it does.

So this Thanksgiving, I look back on that year and remind myself how much I appreciate having my family surrounding me at the dinner table tonight.  I’m thankful for having so much food that I couldn’t eat it all, I’m thankful for the spider having been killed in the basement before it turned into a national incident and thankful for all the laughter and jokes at the table.  It doesn’t have to be big things all the time.   Sure the list can go on and one for all the things that I am thankful for, but here and now, these small things make all the difference.  

Happy Thanksgiving All.  


I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For

Much like Bing Crosby, I’ve got plenty to be thankful for.  This is only the 2nd time that I’ve ever had to spend Thanksgiving alone (But, it’s ok, we had our feast on Tuesday).  Mom worked 1:00-10:00 tonight and my sister 10am-7:00.  However, the other time was harder.  I was in Washington DC and completely alone and depressed (I spent all day at the Air&Space Museum) whereas this year I could at least drive to Wal*Mart and Walgreens to see them.  So after making the chicken patties, beans and French fries for dinner, I started thinking about the things I am thankful for:

  1. First for my family- I’m so happy that we are as close as we are
  2. Most importantly for friends- Each one is unique and has created memories and experiences that can’t be duplicated with someone else.  I love you all for touching my life.  Thanks for sticking with me through thick and thin.
  3. “The third best thing”- Laughter
  4. Technology.  As someone who is infatuated with the past, I never thought this would make the list, but when you sit and think about it, so much of daily activities revolve around technology.
  5.  My imagination
  6. I love my hometown.  Living in Milwaukee I am grateful to be on a Great Lake.  It seems that everything I need is within a reasonable distance… the beach, the forest, farmland, mountains (Cristal Ridge)… the pyramids at Aztalan
  7. Similarly I am thankful for the changing seasons and the beauty I can capture with my camera.
  8. I’m thankful enough to be able to vacation in so many wonderful places thanks to the transcontinental railroad.
  9. For Music.. which is essential to power my life each day  (Like Elton John says “Guess there are times when we all need to share the little things…. and it’s times like this when we all need to hear the radio cuz from the lips of some old singer people share the troubles we already know”)  
  10. I’m thankful to be able to experience my favorite music in concert as well as for the talent bestowed upon the musicians
  11. The courage to do things I never thought possible
  12. The strength to be comfortable alone; my independence has given me the chance to do the extraordinary and taken me to some amazing places.
  13. My house.  I’ve waited a long time for this one.
  14. I’m thankful to have a job that provides me with adequate money and insurance
  15. I’m thankful for the protection provided by the military, Bill of Rights, Constitution, etc.
  16. For my health and welfare and that of my family and friends.
  17. I’m also thankful for being so emotional (even though it gets tiring sometimes).  My emotions allow me to know compassion and love and to recognize my strengths and weaknesses
  18. My collections of media, books, Presidential Figures, stuffed animals, sweaters, submarines, snowmen, scarecrows.  All tangible things that can instantly make me happy.
  19. Farms- barns, cornfields, cows, rolls of hay
  20. Museums, Historians and Archivists
  21. Good food, even when it’s fattening