I used to look forward to Thanksgiving.
Well, not growing up. Unfortunately, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas meant more abuse at home. My mother reveled in the fact that we were not going to be school any time so she dug in and went all out with the bruises. One Thanksgiving beating left me hobbling on my way to school Monday morning.
But after running away from home, Thanksgiving got more interesting. I spent it with friends or boyfriends or with family or one impoverished day alone with a tub of Haagen Daz and a Urbanfetch DVD rental. Eventually, when my sisters ran away, I spent Thanksgiving with them. I discovered that my little sister makes a mean turkey so I have yet to learn how to make one!
My last treif (not kosher) Thanksgiving was just me, my sister and my friend Edwina. Edwina had opted out of spending the holidays with her family and decided to adopt us. It was great. I had started the conversion process officially that September and I was just beginning to negotiate keeping kosher (inside the home, but not out). So at Edwina’s table, I decided I’d have the dairy dessert first and the turkey second. My sister and Edwina were pretty supportive. Though, they teased me the whole time about the cute boy I wouldn’t stop talking about who would later become my husband.
Today, Thanksgiving doesn’t seem as special. Sure, it’s the only time I eat Russian salad (a Dominican delicacy) and homemade pumpkin pie (okay, I’ll admit I usually pigging out on store-bought from right after Halloween). But Shabbos (Sabbath) when it’s really perfect gives me the opportunity to hang out with my friends and family every week. And it makes Thanksgiving look less like the shiny bauble it once was.
From mi casa in Riverdale to all of you (all over the world), have a Happy Thanksgiving!