Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. It’s usually filled with family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers. Some of the relatives and friends you usually never see, so it’s the one chance a year that you can get together, laugh, catch up, and overly stuff yourself. It’s also a time where people think about being thankful and give thanks, but without the hoopla of presents.
It is also a holiday filled with food that I love, but probably only eat once a year. Turkey, canned cranberry jelly, green bean casserole, stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, mashed potatoes, and several different pies. The best part of our Thanksgiving food fest, though, is the addition of all kinds of Korean food that make it to our table. Next to the turkey is always some galbi (Korean short ribs) as well as rice, kimchee, tempura shrimp, and oftentimes, a sushi and sashimi platter.
Our Thanksgiving grace is said in a mix of Korean and English. The conversations are sometimes in Korean with whispers of translations for those who don’t know Korean, but the laughter is always the same.
It reminds me that this day is such an American event. But the beauty of it is that we have somehow wonderfully melded this American tradition with flavors of Korean culture and food. It reminds me that although my family roots may lie an ocean away, it is still very much a part of me. It’s something I will pass on to my own daughter. It’s what makes America that way that it is. New and old traditions combined to make something unique and something that is our own.
This year, I mourn that there will be several families like the Browns, Rices, and Martins that will have empty seats at their Thanksgiving table. I mourn their loss with hope that things will be different and that things will change. Hope that when my daughter is hosting her Thanksgiving table, she will no longer mourn for these tragedies like I do. Hope that there will be more peace, no guns, that school will once again be a safe place, that the color of someone’s skin will not evoke fear and hate, and that each of us will learn better to walk in another person’s shoes, do better, and love each other better.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I am thankful for each and every one of you. Thank you for reading my words, entering into dialogue with me through this blog, and for the inspiration that you give me.
Happy Thanksgiving, Napkin Hoarders!