Friday, November 24, 2006

Pass the mashed potatoes and the moussaka

I guess my mom was experiencing empty nest syndrome. She decided to fill that nest with 3 foreign exchange students from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. When I look back on Thanksgiving day, I have a lot to be thankful for. At the top of the list is that it didn’t go horribly wrong.

I’m in Richmond celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. We’re a small family, so Thanksgiving is normally a small affair to begin with. My sister is in New Orleans and couldn’t make it back home. My uncle on my mom’s side is on a trip to New York. My dad’s side of the family is doing Thanksgiving in North Carolina.

The ham was eaten the night before and was replaced on the dinner table by a number of middle eastern side dishes such as moussaka, tabouli and lots of pita bread that my parents thoughtfully bought at a local bakery.

That dinner was merely awkward is a blessing in itself. My parent’s are well meaning folks, but they’re fairly conservative. My worry wasn’t that they would try to offend, but that something would come out wrong from my dad’s mouth. "I don’t see what the big deal is about displaying images of the Prophet Mohammad" or "Let’s discuss the Israel/Palestinian conflict."

Thankfully, most of the day was spent with short burst of uncomfortableness, like my dad spouting off all the names of his middle eastern co-workers, somehow hoping to impress them with the fact that he not only works with middle easterners, but can also pronounce their names. Or when he decided that it would be a good idea to give them a tour of his fruit trees in the backyard. Looking through a window while I was washing dishes, I could see their shivering and had to wonder if they thought we were trying to kill them.

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Good health, a loving family, a steady job, new friends, and most of all that in a small suburb just west of Richmond, an international incident was averted.

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