For a couple of months I dithered about where I’d spend my first Thanksgiving outside of Louisiana. My options were driving to Dallas, Texas, to be with my best friend and his family, or staying in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I found myself very reluctant to confirm my attendance to my friend’s warm, familiar invitation. Although, it would only be a four hour drive, something held me back from promising my presence. I waited until a week before turkey day to commit to a plan. I’m aware that this made me seem indecisive. I’m also aware that my delay may have been perceived as ungrateful or selfish. However, I had my reasons.
Nourishment is what has allowed me to crown Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. I’ve always enjoyed the dialogue, the food, the sleep, more food, more dialogue and more sleep that the occasion allows. To me, this fosters an environment of embrace. An aunt screaming,“Hugs for everyone, but I don’t like my food to touch.” This year I opted out of a twelve hour drive to New Orleans (plane tickets are way too high), or driving to Dallas, to hold a feast in Stillwater, with two new friends. The first one is from Persia, who I met through the writing program here at Oklahoma State University. The other, is from Oklahoma City, who I later met through OSU’s Latin Dance community. I knew my friend from Persia could not go home, and that my friend from OKC would not go home. Therefore, I thought I’d bring some of my hometown, the Big Easy, to them.
Thus began the cornish hens stuffed with shrimp and sausage dressing, gouda and munster mac’ and cheese, yellowy potato salad, sautéed green beans and butternut squash & of course the hot rolls, Sure I was missing the stuffed bell peppers, mirlitons, peach cobbler, gumbo, yams, greens and an assortment of other dishes, but, I figured what I offered would be sufficient enough. I invited them over to my table-less apartment, where we placed our plates on laps and my computer desks and shut up. I know food, plus silence, equals delicious. We washed it down with my favorite wine (Ocean Spray Cran-Grape), and enjoyed multiple discussions, almost fell asleep, got seconds, talked some more, and almost fell asleep again.
This year: I let my heart meet someone else’s; I reached out, and mixed in with two individuals who were strangers just a couple of months prior; I surrounded myself with men who held different beliefs, yet, the same yearning for togetherness; I created a community out of patience and reasoning; and I let my food touch.