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My First Thanksgiving

By Keiran President
On November 27, 2017

Photo by: Sydney Meyer

Thanksgiving -- a food lovers favorite holiday. Originally, Thanksgiving was a day to celebrate a good autumn harvest by the Pilgrims in 1621. Since then it has evolved into a day of the 3 F’s: Feasting, Football and Family ... and not forgetting giving thanks.

This is not a holiday we celebrate in St. Lucia or the Caribbean in general, but I was thankful for it nonetheless, as I got almost a week off school.

Despite the fact that I’ve been in the United States since August of 2015, I have yet to experience a real American thanksgiving. In 2015 and 2016 I spent Thanksgiving in my dorm room at Cameron University watching Netflix and eating ramen or other junk food all day.

This year saw a great change when I was invited by Sydney Meyer to spend my first official Thanksgiving with her family in Princeton, Kansas, a 15-minute drive south of campus.

Before heading over, I did a little research on what people wear at Thanksgiving lunches. This search directed me to a site called Pinterest, which was really helpful, however my closet did not match up with most of the clothing I saw on this site.

All the outfits were elegantly casual, no jeans and fall-colored. I did the best I could and put something together on that basis. I surely didn’t want to overdress or underdress.

Upon arrival, I was warmly greeted by the array of comforting food aromas in the air. First the savory smell of ham, then the sugary scent of sweet potatoes topped off with the faint smell of freshly baked pastries that flooded my nostrils before my stomach begged for mercy.

I snapped back into reality and was introduced to the Meyer family one by one. As I went one after the next introducing myself and them introducing themselves to me, I was getting a little worried because I didn’t remember everyone’s name.

I don’t know if it showed on my face, but Mrs. Meyers said to me, “Don’t worry, we will not quiz you on everyone’s name.” This made me a little less worried before I took a seat on the couch.

Most family members were in the kitchen helping with the final dish preparations. As I looked over at the long, well-decorated table, it reminded me of the last supper. All the disciples and Jesus, with the food out in front of them.

Before we sat at the able to eat, we said a short prayer, giving thanks for all the thing we were blessed to have. From the food, to family, friends, life and the list goes on.

We then took our seats at the dining table, where my eyes were finally able to put a picture to the ambrosial scents my nose was picking up. I felt like I was in a movie because the only place I saw this was on television.

Back in the Caribbean, we don’t sit at long tables with food laid out in the center. We have a table specifically for food and other tables around where you can sit to eat. It is done buffet-style, where everyone gets up and go around the table grabbing what they want.

However, with this setup, no one had to leave their seats, and the food was passed in a clockwise direction making sure everyone was able to touch every dish. The only problem I had with it was I felt a little weaker every time I took the smell of whatever dish was in my hand.

Everything smelt so good and tasted even better. I used the experience I gained as a young boy who loves food to not save my favorite dish for last. This is because you won’t enjoy it as much, and my not even finish it because you filled up with all the other foods on the plate.

With this in mind, I made sure I took a bite in everything equally. But my utmost favorite dish for the day was the sweet potato with the marshmallows on top. The flavor and texture brought so much joy to my tastebuds as I savored every bite.

While enjoying the meal, I was told to save room for dessert, as there were a wide variety to choose from. Pecan pie, pumpkin rolls, chocolate tart and sugar cookies to choose from. The one that captured my heart were the pumpkin rolls, which were said to be “a family favorite.”

After enjoying dessert, we all sat around the table talking, as they were getting to know me and I was getting to know about them. We then took activities outdoors, to play a little basketball and ping pong.

This helped a little with the digestion process and also kept us away from having a “food coma.” The party was brought back into the house to finish the day watching college basketball.

My first official thanksgiving turned out to be amazing! From the food to the family, everything we did and everyone who was there made me feel like family. Despite the fact that we did not complete the 3 F’s, the Feasting and Family aspect was good enough for me.

Many thanks go out to Sydney Meyer and her family for having me be part of their Thanksgiving festivities. They took me away from the ramen and Netflix this year and showed me what the holiday was all about.

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