Thursday, November 24, 2016

Making Stuffing

Read on Facebook this week. Shared with permission.

So I'm at the supermarket finishing up my Thanksgiving shopping, and wearing my safety pin, when a Middle Eastern woman walks up to me with her teenage daughter. She looks nervous. She speaks with a very strong accent, but her English is pretty good. She asks, "May I ask you for some help?" Of course, I answer. I have no idea what she's going to ask. And she says...

"How do you make stuffing?" I smile. She has asked the right person. I explain: Bake cornbread out of a mix, add some chicken broth, add anything you want. "Celery?" she asks, looked worried. Sure. Celery, onions, apples, pecans, other kinds of nuts. I tell her that I always put figs in my stuffing. "Figs?" Sure, I tell her. Or you could put dates in it. Her face lights up. "You can put dates in stuffing?" You can put anything you want in stuffing, I tell her. She looks relieved, but—

"How long do you cook the turkey? I have 12 pounds," she says. I tell her to look it up on the internet. No one knows how long to cook a turkey without looking it up. Everyone needs a little help with that.

A few more questions. Do you put the stuffing in the turkey? I tell her no, cook it on the side, it's easier. And cook the turkey upside down, it's better that way.

She thanks me, turns away. Her daughter turns back. Nods at my safety pin. She also speaks with a strong accent. "She thought it would be okay to ask you." Heads off to help her mom.

Welcome to America, mom and daughter. Happy Thanksgiving.

We don't know what the future holds right now. We may be called upon to shield others from violence and discrimination. If some are singled out for their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation--we will be challenged to be upstanders and not bystanders. Even in our beautiful bubble of Columbia/Howard County we can see this coming. It's ugly.

On this Thanksgiving we have an opportunity to experience gratitude for whatever love and plenty is ours. But along with this celebration comes an unspoken invitation to chose how we will share that love and plenty with those who need us. If we are blessed to feel safe and secure in our daily lives then that, too, is a blessing to be shared.

Whatever plenty you have, there is someone who could use a bit of it. It may be as simple as a conversation in the grocery store. It may be putting ourselves between the oppressor and the oppressed.

I am thankful this year for my family, for a new job that I love, for journalists, for community activists, for my daughter's excellent teachers, for friends who bear with my quirkiness, and for a community that gives me the opportunity to make connections.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

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