“I am so very thankful for having all our family reunited here today,” I say. We raise our glasses, even 3 ½ year-old Beltrán, glasses filled with wine or water or juice. I look at the faces around our table: Nico and his girlfriend Laura, both recently arrived from the States; Danny, Ale and their four children: twins Colomba and Manuela, Pascuala and Beltrán; and my husband, Santiago. Table conversation is a lively mix of Spanish and English and translations.
What a joy to spend the day in the kitchen preparing the Thanksgiving fixings with Laura, sharing menu ideas, googling for recipes, a job I'd usually done alone. She makes a delicious apple pie.
We’d seldom celebrated Thanksgiving here at home over the years. Not being a holiday in Chile, Santiago was at work and the boys in classes or studying for year-end tests. When the boys were younger, we’d gather with other bi-national families for a Thanksgiving pot luck picnic at Marion and Bob’s farm. That tradition ended when families became too numerous. But now, with Nico and Laura here, I wanted to do a traditional Thanksgiving to make Laura feel at home and to impart some of the Thanksgiving tradition to our grandchildren.
I pull out all the stops: best blue linen tablecloth and my mother’s china and silver. Some of the silver is tarnished from little use, so I sit down to polish a few pieces which brings back memories of family Thanksgivings of my childhood. The job of polishing silver often fell to me. My mother rose early to prepare the turkey and stuffing, the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. I’d help set the table with a white linen tablecloth and napkins and the same china and silver we use today.
At the end of the evening, my heart is full. I am contented and grateful for a traditional American Thanksgiving with all of our binational family gathered around the table, complete with spilled juice and Frida, the dog, scouting for crumbs under the table.