Boat ovens (especially our boat oven) aren’t very big. This became very apparent yesterday as Evan and I negotiated baking time and oven space allotments. If we both had our dishes prepared in advance and didn’t wait until the very last minute to make the pie pastry for example (and discover then that flour needed replacing because it was a little more organic looking than is acceptable …) it probably would have come together just fine. But as it happened—the time for the giant Thanksgiving potluck arrived and we were still cooking. So I began fretting.
As Canadians, we celebrated our Thanksgiving over a month ago. It’s a holiday I really love: slowing down to savour a meal and the year—and just spend the day being grateful. What we missed in our little celebration six weeks ago were our family and close friends. For so many of our Thanksgivings we’ve been surrounded by the people who mean the most to us—our family by birth and choice.
I got to ponder this as our food cooked slowly and the 50 plus people I was to share several turkeys and hams with gathered on shore. For the most part we’ve only known these folks for a short time—a few weeks, and in some cases a few hours. I wondered if this would make the Thanksgiving ritual a little hollow (especially because as I mentioned before, only a handful of us are actually American…) And I worried I’d have no one to talk to and would simply eat too much, while thinking too much about the people I’d rather be with.
|this is a special life for kids--especially because there is always someone there to help fill a plate with dessert|
But then we arrived and space was made for us in this circle of people. Names were learned and stories were shared. I discovered who was ending their cruise and who was just beginning; who were planning to travel great distances and who plans to stay in Mexico.
|kids don't need any help in figuring out how to make the most of a new friendship|
And I was reminded again of one of the magical elements of cruising—that despite our differences in age, nationality, beliefs and experiences we share a commonality that makes for a special camaraderie. Maybe some of the people we’ve met in our weeks here will be folded into the fabric of our lives rather than left behind and forgotten. And maybe not—but as I watched Maia and the other kids seize the moments of friendship offered and shared, I stopped holding back.
Being grateful isn’t about perfectly prepared food or gathering just the right crowd—it’s about grabbing every moment with both hands and our entire heart.
So thanks to Phil Perkins on Mannasea and Sharon on Castaway who organized the event and all those who attended yesterday’s lovely meal.
And Happy Thanksgiving.