Thanksgiving 2010 in Lafayette, Indiana—in the heartland of America. Endearing, tiring, heartwarming, exhausting, uplifting, frustrating, inspi riing. In other words, a typical Thanksgiving.
The food was fabulous, from the triple mushroom/Brie soup to the brined turkey to the fruit and nut bread pudding and pecan pie cake.
The variety in our assemblage was wonderful: our four children and three grandchildren, Gina’s mom and stepdad, Gina’s sister Gennifer and her husband Tom and three children as well as Tom’s parents from California. SuSu and Alex, Purdue students from Penang, Malaysia. Foo, a Malaysian student most recently from Texas. Adelina, a Malaysian student at the University of Colorado, with whose parents we stayed in Malaysia last summer. Yves, from Rwanda, a graduate student at Purdue.
The seventeen adults were seated at long tables that were beautifully decorated. Conversation flowed smoothly as we got better acquainted. The Malaysians were in for the adventure of trying all the novel American dishes.
We exemplified teamwork throughout the day—cooking, serving, unstopping the kitchen sink, cleaning up the dishes, putting away tables and chairs, playing games, caring for the two babies, watching the older children perform.
Two of the most inspiring parts were before we began the Thanksgiving meal when Josh read from a Pilgrim diary and led a Thanksgiving prayer. Then later in the evening, we assembled in the living room and Josh read to us from Psalm 100, which combines thanksgiving and singing. Then we sang.
Singing is a wonderful tradition that I treasure. We sang both old and new songs, and were most fascinated when Grant, age 8, requested “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.” I’m delighted that the youngsters are learning and loving the old hymns as well as the new praise songs and children’s songs.
We closed with a prayer of Thanksgiving in which everyone from four to sixty-six participated. Going around the circle as we each voiced our thanksgiving for specific blessings was a tearful experience for me. Especially touching was Tom’s dad’s appreciation for the knowledge that traditional family values are alive and well in America, and that he can testify to that in California.
We all felt warm and loved and glad we could share with lonely students far from home. Once again I was reminded of why this is my favorite holiday.