Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I can’t help but reminisce on the many Thanksgivings that were held in my dining room in Haiti over the years. A wonderful friend whose wife was sick with cancer made a huge pallet table for me that was about 16 feet long in exchange for jewelry he would give to his wife while she was going through chemo treatments. She died shortly after and so my pallet table became a sort of memorial to her and I think of her with gratitude and keep her memory alive with feasts at the table. Her memory became even more important when I was diagnosed with the same cancer she died from just a year later.
That table held our Thanksgiving feasts and we would usually get our giant turkey for free each year from the local supermarket who would honor its clients each year in this way. With four kids and many more mouths to feed, our grocery bill was always enormous and so we were very valued clients.
We always had to decide who we would invite to the table each year and inevitably the people who appreciated the stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie were the men in our community who had been deported for various crimes in the United States. They would come to the table, many of them who had been raised in the United States, and were more American than Haitian and they would look at the food and cry and remember the days. It was truly a moment of gratitude – sitting around my table of cancer memories with my four small children and a group of criminal exiles who couldn’t have been happier. I hope your Thanksgiving is also full of goodness, redemption and good memories!