I have a huge extended family scattered all over the place but four nuclear families in New Jersey — including my sister’s — have been our Thanksgiving Day group for as long as I can remember. They all live in fairly close proximity, but for Jack and me it was a 6-1/2 hour drive from our home in Pittsburgh. Still we only rarely missed it and then only for good reason, like when Jack was undergoing chemo and radiation. Thanksgiving is for being with people you love.

The other night here in Grenada a non-American asked if we sing patriotic songs on Thanksgiving and it gave me pause to think how to explain our uniquely American holiday. Thanksgiving, or at least the Thanksgiving that my family celebrates, is, as the name says, a day of giving thanks. Ok, it started with the Pilgrims and the natives sharing their harvest and all that, but in my family we do contemplate what we’re thankful for and share it at the always over-laden dinner table.

This is the second year in a row we’ve spent Thanksgiving with cruising friends instead of family, the second year without helping my sister make cornbread stuffing on Wednesday night, without my brother-in-law’s specially selected Zinfandel, chosen because it’s the only American grape; the second year without a swarm of cousins and too little time to catch up on a year’s worth of news, without my sister’s incomparable pumpkin pie and without the days of belly laughs and championship cooking and overeating and group hugs.

This year one of the marinas hosted a Thanksgiving potluck. They provided the turkey, stuffing and gravy and the cruisers brought their favorite dishes. There were potatoes, cranberries, beans, all manner of salads, appetizers, a beautiful Welsh rarebit, and a whole separate table of desserts, including four or five pumpkin pies, none of which, sad to say, held a candle to my sister’s. But our table was laden and the company was good.





My family are nearly all on Facebook now, and despite our distances most of us shared our thoughts of thanks, just as if we were together. I’m copying mine here because we still have a lot of friends and family who haven’t made the leap to Facebook.

I am thankful for my family, who surround us with love and support us always; for our friends who encourage us, help us through our challenges and celebrate our successes; for our health; for our beautiful shelter and magic carpet, Escape Velocity; for enough to eat and clean water to drink; for the freedom to undertake this journey; for the power of the sun, which runs our boat; and for my partner and best friend Jack, who apparently will follow me anywhere. Thank goodness.

I hope you all enjoyed a Thanksgiving filled with whatever makes you happy, and that you shared it with people you love.

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  1. Our Thanksgiving group was scattered on three continents this year, but we were together in spirit, and as you wrote, we are all thankful for so many things, but especially for each other, for our nuclear and extended families and the love and joy we share throughout the year. XO

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