It goes without saying that our Thanksgiving invite lists should include close friends and family.
Perhaps it is worth saying though that strangers and potential enemies were present at that first Thanksgiving too. It was about adventure and risk, not safety and tradition.
This Thanksgiving I did not join my parents for a steak dinner in their adopted Florida hometown. Instead I headed up to the snowy wilds of Vermont where I joined a friend and her parents for nightly fires and international travel chatter.
On the drive up, we learned that this year’s table would not be heaving with international students from the neighborhood Ivy League; indeed, it would be quite intimate, just close friends and family. . . unless we could find some strangers at the last minute.
Our limitations were that there were only three extra scallop shells for coquille St. Jacques and our strangers needed to be Dartmouth certified, no townies.
Also a bit of a challenge describing our adventure to the six year old New Yorker in our midst: you should never talk to strangers and never, ever go home with them, but we’re going to go pick up friends we haven’t met yet and bring them back to eat with us; how exciting!
In the end, we were ultimately unsuccessful. We spoke to dozens of students:
- The Occupy Dartmouth kids, who think the thing the movement needs is a corporate sponsor.
- The chemistry professor fresh off a plane from Mumbai, wheeling his rumbled luggage
- One-of-each: a yankee, Indian, and Asian having a fancy lunch at the new hotel
But everyone already had plans, was utterly horrified by our craziness or had friends who lacked a similar taste for adventure.
It all got me thinking about the parable of the wedding feast (Matt 22:1-14) from the perspective of the guests: accepting invitations and preparing yourself for the occasion are the best ways to deal with the fickleness of people with too much power.
of course you should never ever talk to strangers; you must introduce yourselves first, and then you are not strangers anymore!!! This is how Karina and I became friends. I celebrated 6 Thanksgivings in the US while there, indeed as an Ivy League PhD student, and the one at the Corrigans’ was the warmest, loveliest, friendliest of all.
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