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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008

Mary Kay writes:

It is strange and disorienting to celebrate a major custom like American Thanksgiving 10,000 miles away from home. Of course, Thanksgiving is not a holiday here in Ghana, so life is going on as if today is an ordinary day. The children are off of school – for today only – but that is only because they attend the American school. We are far from the family we are used to celebrating with.

There is not the least hint of fall, or coolness in the air. It is probably 90 or so here, and definitely over 100 in the kitchen where the oven has been going all day. We will not be able to watch the Macy’s parade on TV, as we prepare the Thanksgiving feast, and we will not sit down to watch the A&M-Texas Thanksgiving Classic after the meal. Of course, this might be a good thing for us Aggie fans, as we are probably going to get thrashed! And if I am really motivated, I can listen to the game on the internet – providing the internet is working and I want to stay up until the wee hours.

But the thing I miss the most at the moment is cooking with my Mom, and my sister. We ran my Grandmother out of the kitchen a few years ago – she is now 97+ and has cooked enough Thanksgiving dinners to give her a bye for life! And now, my niece, Shannon, has joined in the tradition. I am cooking the same foods I would be were I in Atlanta, or Houston – turkey, cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and sauerkraut - but I am having to do it by myself. I cried as I chopped onions for the dressing this morning, but I couldn’t tell if it was just from the onions or from homesickness too. I think the latter. And who is here to help me decide if there is enough salt or sage in the dressing?

I called home last night to ask Mom about quantities of the dressing recipe, as I was trying to figure out how much to make for the thirty people or so that we will celebrate with today. I had just put my cornbread in the oven. I found Mom and Shannon, my 14-year-old niece, in the kitchen, with their cornbread in the oven. So it did feel a little like we were cooking together, even though we are oceans apart. I also thought about the first pilgrim women and how they must have felt the same. Homesick in the strange new land God had brought them to, missing family and friends, yet thankful for the blessings of the year. At least I have modern communications to help me connect back home!

There is one benefit to celebrating in a place where it is not a national holiday, though – if you forget anything or run out at the last minute the stores are all open! And later this afternoon, we will gather together with the rest of our Mission Society team – both Americans and Ghanaians from all over Ghana – to celebrate. There will be plenty of food – all the traditional favorites, including green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. And maybe someone will have a podcast of one of last years’ football games that we will project on the wall and watch. We are so blessed to have this new family, complete with sisters and brothers, nephews and nieces, here in Ghana and thankful to be able to gather together to celebrate.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. Psalm 105:1 (NLT)

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