Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a fan of the Americans. Not because all they do is spiffy but because they have forged a great nation out of the hopes and guts of a pile of penniless immigrants. And, if you go there—bearing in mind Mark Twain’s superb observation that we are “two peoples separated by a common language”—you’ll find them generous, sociable and optimistic in a way that sundry Europeans could learn from.
The other cultural high point of their year besides 4th of July is a mystery to most Brits. Today is Thanksgiving. Always on the 4th Thursday in November, Americans try to get home to be with family celebrating the survival of early Pilgrim settlers, thanks to the generosity of their Indian neighbours. The ritual meal served (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams, pumpkin pie, etc) surpasses English Sunday roast and Christmas dinner all rolled into one.
The four day weekend is spent stuffing yourself with food, catching up with family and getting started on the Christmas shopping. The Friday after (always a holiday too) is usually the peak retail turnover day of the year. Since I have no American family, I have left them to it and returned to Scotland after four weeks over there. My own Thanksgiving is to all the people who still made what was a difficult trip into another series of memories and experiences that I will treasure.
What follows are some snaps that try to capture some of the warmth shown me during the trip (including breakfasting in shorts outdoors in the middle of November)