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An American Thanksgiving

By Van Schoales

Thanksgiving cranberry sauce
Photo courtesy of NPR

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. What’s not to love about a full day of cooking, eating and conversation with family, friends and neighbors? Thanksgiving means many things to many different people, nor is it devoid of historical context, but for me it’s about community, fellowship and reflection with family, neighbors and friends.

We typically make the trek to Los Angeles to gather at my sister’s house for what is mostly a traditional dinner of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, etc. with a mix of Persian treats like Tah-dig and maybe an Indian appetizer. While the LA food is amazing, the diversity of people and conversations around one big table is the best part of the holiday. To me, there is nothing like a passionate and evidence-based discussion with liberals, conservatives, and the Persian in-laws about Iran, Israel, and the future of our country. This year we decided to switch the gathering to Denver which will lead to a different mix of food and people, but no doubt, just as great a set of conversations.

Thanksgiving seems more important this year as so many people, particularly so many of our students are feeling disconnected, confused, and angry over statements or promises made by President Elect Trump about our fellow Americans whether they identify as Muslim, African-American, LGBTQ+, LatinX, immigrant, woman, Liberal, Conservative, and more. It is imperative that all of us do far more in all of our spheres of influence to create a more just and inclusive America. We have a remarkable nation that has made significant progress over the last 240 years, but we still have a long way to go. It will require all of us to be simultaneously more reflective, engaged, and action-orientated.  

So here’s to a rich set of conversations this week and if you have never had Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish with your turkey, you should consider adding it to the mix. We always have at least three Cranberry options at our table, traditional scratch Cranberry sauce, Mama Stamberg’s and the classic Cranberry Jelly with the can indents. More flavors and perspectives lead to a richer community.   

Happy Thanksgiving!