SAPPINESS ADVISORY: If you have a history of adverse reactions to excessive sentimentality, consult your doctor before reading on.

Photo by JP Puerta

Photo by JP Puerta

I love Thanksgiving!

For me, as an immigrant, Thanksgiving is the most meaningful and enjoyable of all festivities in this country (even if I’m forced to watch football to prove my masculinity: “Go Yankees!…oh, wait..“).

The act of giving thanks for the bounty that this land continues to offer not only its native sons and daughters but also those who come searching for their individual version of the American Dream is a very special and beautiful ritual.

And even though every year I have to refresh my memory on the history of Thanksgiving (thanks, Wikipedia!), and even though the history between white Americans and American Indians is more marked by egregious injustice than it is by the compassion, respect, and mutual celebration exemplified by the origins of this holiday, and even though America is imperfect, every time I shove a spoonful of mashed potatoes topped with thick gravy topped with cranberry sauce topped with pumpkin pie crust and wash it down with sparkling wine, surrounded by a bunch of loving and delightful friends and family members, I can’t help but count myself lucky and privileged.

Naturally, Thanksgiving takes on a whole new meaning for me now that I’m a father and I certainly plan for future Thanksgivings to be opportunities to inculcate in my sons some of their old man’s appreciation for the celebration (my sons twenty years from now: “Do we have to listen to the old man’s whole Thanksgiving spiel every year before we can eat our grub in peace?” ).

My sons are still too young to sit through an explanation of the meaning of Thanksgiving. By the time I tell Gabriel that the Pilgrims were worried about starving he’s already flinging gravy at his little cousin sitting across the table. But looking at his chubby, mashed potato-covered rosy cheeks, I can’t help but marvel at the fact that this Colombian father and his Colombian-American offspring are not much different from those Pilgrims who sought only a sense of freedom and a warm embrace that this land was more than happy to give them.

The turkey wasn’t so lucky. Gracias, turkey.

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