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The Thanksgiving Spirit in Books


Chucho enjoying the warm fire.

As we celebrate with our families this Thanksgiving holiday I am keenly aware of the abundant life that I am living.  I am sitting in my warm and heated living room, writing on my computer, in front of a crackling fireplace sitting next to my love. The TV is on and my dogs are at my feet. My colleagues and I shared a hearty Thanksgiving potluck lunch and Mrs. Olivas made the most amazing mashed potatoes. She says the secret ingredient was goat cheese.  Yes, goat cheese!  A former parent read my post on Rambunctious Boys and gave me her son’s old books, a wonderful assortment of superhero books.  

After work I stopped by my sister’s house and they were eating dinner. My mom served me a plate even though I said I wasn’t hungry.  Ignoring my request to not be fed, she proceeded to serve me un platito, a small plate.  I looked at my mom and her need to always feed people and I thought of three year old Pari and big brother Abdullah living in an Afghan village.   Pari and Abdullah are my latest “friends” in the beautifully written book, And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I thought of Abdullah, a child himself and the immense responsibility of caring for his little sister since the death of their mother.  Remembering how Abdullah misses his mother I look at my mom and smile inwardly. I begin to eat even though I’m not hungry and feel the warmth of the home my sister has created.  On my way out I steal a kiss from my niece and nephew as I stand under their handmade mistletoe taped to the ceiling.

On my traffic filled drive home I talk to my younger brother and crack jokes. When I finally get home I am pleasantly surprised to find cheesecake and vino.  I cook dinner, shower, put on my pj’s and watch TV. My feet get cold and I put on a pair of warm booties.  I look at my booties and again think of Pari and Abdullah and how they walked barefoot in the hot desert sun.  I am then reminded of two picture books that I must read to my first graders to expand their understanding of how others live in this world: My Shoes and I and Four Feet, Two SandalsWill they relate to Mario, a boy who crosses three borders as he makes his way north to the United States or to Lina and Feroza, two girls who live in a refugee camp in Pakistan and share a pair of sandals?  I know I have had an immense sense of gratitude this week for the modern luxuries I take for granted since I started reading And The Mountains Echoed.  

I am grateful for many things. But at this very moment I am extremely grateful for my ability to read and write and the freedom to be able to share my thoughts.

I wish you and yours a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving.