Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving on the Africa Mercy

A month ago our galley staff cooked up a lovely turkey dinner in honor of Canada's Thanksgiving day, and today we got to enjoy another Thanksgiving dinner for the Americans onboard. All day my American friends and I have been trying to explain to our non-American friends why we celebrate Thanksgiving. It's made for some entertaining conversations.

Brit: "So...the pilgrims, from England, were thankful to the Indians that they didn't starve?"

Canadian: "Yeah, and then they gave the Indians smallpox blankets."

American: "They didn't know the blankets had smallpox on them!"

Brit: "England's such a small country, but it's interesting how we're involved in everything."

American: "We were trying to get away from you!"

I ate dinner with 3 nurses from the United Kingdom, and when we sat down to eat Jess looked at me, the lone American at the table, and said "is there something we're supposed to do? Do we have to sing a song or say something special before we can eat?"

I'd already started eating. Oops. "Um, well, sometimes my family all goes around the table and everyone says something they're thankful for." So we did that, and then I got back to my turkey and mashed potatoes. Yum!

I didn't get very far though before Larry, an older gentleman from somewhere in America, stood up and rang the bell. There's a bell in the middle of our dining room that people ring when they want to make an announcement during a meal. Usually it's an announcement for someone's birthday, and everyone in the dining room sings happy birthday. Today, Larry stood up and said something nice and nostalgic about it being Thanksgiving, and then added "and I'd like all the Americans to join me in singing God Bless America."

What followed was a half-hearted rendition of what sort of sounded like 'God Bless America,' but nobody really knew all the words, and everyone was off-key. Every time I tried to sing I just heard how off-key everyone was, and started laughing, which made me start coughing. I've had a cough for about 3 weeks now. Anyway...the Thanksgiving song fell rather flat, but the meal was lovely. I miss my mama's cornbread stuffing and sweet potato pudding, but dinner was still really good. And a few hours later we all gathered in the cafe and had delicious apple pie and ice cream! All in all, it was a nice Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for right now, I can't even begin to list it all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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