This year I celebrated two Thanksgivings. One, which I’m enjoying right now, is the traditional family Thanksgiving that falls on the fourth Thursday of November.
Some people say it doesn’t receive enough attention because it’s squeezed in between Halloween and Christmas, holidays that overshadow the day for giving thanks.
But my first Thanksgiving this year was in June, when my London friend, James Wannerton, paid me a visit after attending a conference in Toronto. I’ve known for a few years that James was intrigued by the North American holiday, and that he wanted to experience it.
So, last summer when the “monsoon” rains, as James described our unusually wet season, drenched us, I went to Bi-Lo and half-heartedly asked an employee if I could get a turkey.
I wasn’t sure they would have them, but sure enough there were a few frozen birds in the freezer. I took a hefty one home and thawed it in the sink, and by the next day the aroma of Thanksgiving wafted through the house.
Although the grass outside was green and high and the chorus of tree frogs pierced our ears in the evening, I made sweet potato casserole and macaroni and cheese.
Family members arrived with dressing, aka stuffing to some, sausage balls and sweet goodies. We gathered around the table or headed for the living room to enjoy the feast, wherever we could find an empty chair.
Our Thanksgiving table would never make the cover of a glossy magazine. We don’t have formal place settings, water glasses or a chafing dish. Perhaps, our humble Thanksgiving in June deprived James of the “elegant” American Thanksgiving dinner that exists in many an imagination.
After all, I’ve been known to accidentally roast a turkey upside down or drop the rolls on the floor – there’s a reason the Butterball hotline exists, but I digress.
In 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, to be observed each November. And just as the Pilgrims and Indians shared an autumn feast in 1621, the U.K. and U.S. supped in harmony.
James enjoyed the food, acceptance and camaraderie of this Southern family so much that he asked for recipes, perhaps so he could recreate the dinner back in the U.K. I’m thankful that he had a good time and told him he was welcome back any time he could cross the pond.
I’m a bit embarrassed to say I haven’t passed the recipes on yet, but in the spirit of “thankitudes,” here’s one of them:
Karan Robinson is a freelance writer in Clover. Email her at Karanr6@live.com.