Thanksgiving has been and gone. It’s as if it never was. Now, we’re all about the snow dusted rooftops, the holly and the ivy and the red peppermint candy canes. This year, I lived it vicariously – Thanksgiving, that is – through a flurry of pretty pictures of pie, and tales of festive spirits, gathered around tables laden with food. Somehow, it’s left me feeling wanting.
Thanksgiving isn’t something that I grew up with. Not properly. Not in that same way as Christmas or birthdays or Easter. It’s one of those holidays that floated in and out of my life. Ever present – somewhere in the background – but not religiously celebrated. When you live in one country, come from another, and have friends who come from many more still, this happens quite a lot. You collect holidays like pennies. And then, sometimes, you lose them too. It’s just how it goes.
There was a time, though, a brief chapter when we celebrated Thanksgiving. It started one year with an impromptu dinner party. With friends in Venice who had lived in the States for a short while, and other friends – also in Venice – one of whom was American. So there was a legitimate, albeit slightly tenuous, American connection. We ate in a beautiful palazzo on the Grand Canal, where the friends – the once who had once lived in the States – had their family home. All frescoed ceilings, ornate wall hangings, stone floors and pretty belle époque chairs – the kind that are upholstered in precious satin and creek a little when you sit on them. Birdseye views over gondolas floating down the Grand Canal.
It was a cozy dinner: no proper planning, and no turkey. You will find, that it’s oddly difficult to buy a whole turkey from a Venetain butcher, nigh on impossible at the last minute. But the spirit was there, the bit where we went round in a circle at the dining table and gave thanks for all our blessings – that was there. [Read more...]