Sunday, December 21, 2008


As an American raised in Britain, Thanksgiving was something we were able to participate in but rarely in a social sense outside of family. For me now in Los Angeles, it is a marvelous thing to enjoy community and family in that month before Christmas and to reflect on the great joy of being an American, with all the pluses and minuses that we contemporary Americans carry each day. I was able to enjoy an earnest and warm celebration this past Thanksgiving with my adopted family in Bakersfield.

Christmas is here now. For me and many others Christmas is a religious celebration of the birth of Christ. This is what causes me to celebrate and share my own joy and happiness at this time, mindful of the fact that many of my friends are celebrating different religious holidays around this time. So many of their beliefs are different to mine and some friends have no religious beliefs at all. In a spirit of tolerance and respect for those of other credes, I must also be frank about why I am celebrating and why I like to share that internal joy. This is not a secular holiday for me.

I was interested to read in Nathaniel Philbrick's book on The Mayflower that the common or garden Turkey had been introduced, bred and circulated throughout Europe since the 1500s by the Spanish and that The Mayflower's passengers were more than familiar with it as a feasting dish in England when they got sort of settled and had the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth in 1621. Apparently the tastiest birds on that occasion were Mallards and other ducks. What surprised the Pilgrims most was the large size of wild Turkeys (which were present at the feast and provided by the indigenous Pokanokets) as they had already been bred smaller and neater since their appearance in Europe. These settlers introduced stews and hotpots to the Pokanokets who greatly savored them, with all manner of meats and fish therein. Please, who wouldn't enjoy a rich, slow cooked Daube of local meats?

Whatever your belief or non belief I wish you all Love, Peace and Prosperity this Christmas, and also for the new year of 2009. I share and celebrate my "holiday" love only for the already mentioned reasons. Come sup with me sometime to celebrate our friendship. Until then, I bless you and your family.