Let Us Give Thanks / by Naima Lowe

Ah, Thanksgiving. Another U.S. holiday celebrating mass slaughter, filled with made up traditions (it was duck not turkey), and grotesque consumer tie-ins. I've always thought that the term Black Friday derived from the various plagues given to indigenous people after eating with the colonists. Apparently the term was an invention of the Philadelphia Police in the mid 1960s to describe all of the traffic and chaos in Center City. Leave it the Philadelphia Police to come up with all the best stuff. However, my dear readers (there are now 5 of you! That's something to be thankful for!) Thanksgiving is the only one of the thoroughly imperialist/quasi-Christian holidays that my family has ever had any use for. There was the occasional trip to see Fourth of July fireworks on the Charles River when we lived in Cambridge, but I always just forget about Columbus day until it comes up and bites me on the ass. I don't recall anyone trying to convince me that Santa was actually real, or that our lives were especially influenced by the birth of Jesus.

But as a child, Thanksgiving often involved a trip to see relatives or a big dinner with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, and pie. We're sweet potato people, not pumpkin people. And we prefer talking and maybe going to the movies to watching football. We thank each other for our blessings for the year, which include good health, proximity to loved ones, creative abundance, and many moments of pure joy.

Our gathering will be small. Just me, my mother, my great-aunt, my sister, my niece and my girlfriend at my mother's 2 bedroom flat in Cambridge. My mom will do most of the cooking, and it will be good. After major turkey take-in, the girlfriend and I might go to a movie. Over the rest of the weekend we'll visit my father in Somerville and we'll visit my girlfriend's family in Rhode Island. There will likely be some sort of minor family drama to observe/participate in through a haze of white wine. My niece will be overwhelmed to meet her "cousins," my girlfriend's 6 nieces and nephews. I will make the sweet potato pie, from my grandmother's recipe.

Have you noticed the snide tone melt away, my 5 whole readers?

Yes, me too.

Yours Truly Naima