Although one should be charitable all year, we are of course entering the season of giving. I do confess to missing my American holidays in the autumn. Both Halloween and Thanksgiving perpetuate the pleasures of graciousness and generosity that have made America famous all over the world. Somehow the English holiday of Bonfire Night, where effigies of baddies are burnt in public fires, seems just too barbaric compared to the simple pleasure of opening one’s door to appreciative children all dressed up, thoughtfully raising their hands to request a single sweet on All Hallows Eve.
Thanksgiving is the most American of American holidays. For those unfamiliar with it, its name is derived from the English words “thanks” and “giving.” It’s a time when Americans pause and reflect on all that they have received over the year (excluding, of course, court subpoenas and STDs). Oh, how I used to love to sit at a fine table, covered with the fruits of my hard labour. It was a time to stop and be thankful for my incredible talent which allowed me to provide such sustenance to myself and those lucky enough to spend the holiday with me. The scrumptious meal was always a sight to behold. The fat turkey carcass so packed with chestnut stuffing that it fell in clumps from between its legs; the preternaturally magenta display of congealed cranberries; the sweet potatoes bathing in an almost solidified river of syrup, holding tightly to marshmallow flotation devices; and the lard dumplings so filling that my great grandfather used the very same recipe as mortar to bond the bricks of his bomb shelter. Beautiful food for a beautiful nation. Thanksgiving reminds us to look outside of ourselves and appreciate all the people who have helped us to reap such a harvest.
However, those people are not acknowledged just on one Thursday of November because Thanksgiving is also the official opening of the Christmas season, when we give them gifts to show our thanks. Of course, I don’t mean that we literally buy presents for those who have grown and harvested our food; those people make plenty of money off me already with the ridiculous price of fresh pineapple and mangoes. Instead we symbolize our appreciation of those people through gifts to friends and family, people we actually care about.
As we are on the cusp of Thanksgiving, I know my American compatriots are busily stocking their cupboards and refrigerators with food that they will undoubtedly end up throwing in the bin by next Monday. I imagine the shopping lists and the car boots filled to the rim. I miss such rituals! As a way to ease my homesickness, Christopher has promised to dine with me tomorrow, having arranged a turkey supper to be delivered from the Rose and Crown. He has also been working all weekend to construct a cornucopia in my drinks cabinets to symbolize the abundance of my earthly rewards. I can say without hesitation that I am very thankful for Christopher, and I only hope that the generous pay packet I give him each week goes some way in showing my gratitude. It’s never quite the same, though, having a Thanksgiving dinner just for two; I only wish more of my neighbours could join me in the feast. However, they are mostly dicks and therefore I do not invite them.
But I hope all my readers, whether American or not, will follow my model of wishing the world a wonderful holiday season. Please be charitable to those less fortunate and give thanks to those you appreciate!
NOTE: To donate to the “I’m So Thankful for Miss Agatha Whitt-Wellington that I’d Like to Help Her Retile Her Roof” Fund, please contact Christopher directly with your credit card details.