Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am a piece of wood

"No matter how long a piece of wood stays in the water, it will never become a crocodile." -- the Rev. Prince Decker, quoting a Sierra Leonean proverb.

It is Thanksgiving in the United States today, and I am a piece of wood.

My building has been filled with the smell of roasting turkey and the sound of clattering pans. And though it smelled delicious, I microwaved some Indian food for lunch, instead, and I was fine with that. (And by Indian food I mean food from India, not American Indian food which would have been more appropriate, perhaps, given that the holiday commemorates a harvest feast shared by the Pilgrims -- English immigrants -- and members of the Wampanoag tribe in 1621 at Plymouth, Mass.)

Though I confess to some deep cynicism about the First Thanksgiving narrative -- I've shared some of my feelings on the subject here -- I do appreciate the focus on family and gratitude that the holiday inspires.

It's just not for me.

I didn't grow up celebrating Thanksgiving and haven't really embraced it, though, like the Pilgrims before me, I did move here from England and have much to be grateful for. I have no emotional connection to the holiday and cannot muster much enthusiasm for preparing a big turkey dinner just a month before Christmas. One such meal is enough, really. And the other cultural components of modern-day Thanksgiving -- football and the Macy's Parade -- interest me about as much as a boat of cold gravy.

So today while others were cooking, I slept in. Then I took advantage of the building's empty laundry room to get some chores out of the way in peace and quiet.

And I was thankful.

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