Below are memories, thoughts, and wishes from some of your favorite BSB authors.
KI Thompson begins by telling us a little about the history of Thanksgiving.
“The traditional Thanksgiving story begins with the Mayflower’s arrival near the tip of Cape Cod in November of 1620. Although not the intended destination – it was supposed to be the mouth of the Hudson River – the passengers nevertheless made their way across Massachusetts Bay and established the village of Plymouth.
Since then, modern research has brought to light evidence that predates the Pilgrims by as much as 50 years. A full year before the Pilgrims, English settlers at a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of the James River in Virginia gave thanks for their safe arrival by saying “the day of our ships arrival…shall be yearly and perpetually kept as a day of thanksgiving.” And a ceremony giving thanks was recorded in 1565 in St Augustine, Florida, when Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the Timucua tribe to dinner.
Eventually, days of fasting and thanksgiving became an annual or occasional occurrence in New England. In 1789, George Washington issued a Thanksgiving proclamation not only for the successful conclusion of the war of independence, but also for the ratification of the US Constitution. In 1817, New York became the first state to officially recognize an annual Thanksgiving holiday followed by several other states though not on the same day. And ten years later, the author of the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” – Sara Josepha Hale – began her campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years she sent letters and published editorials until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln finally granted the request. He established the final Thursday in November as the official national day of Thanksgiving, despite being in the midst of a Civil War.
Of course Native Americans will take issue with the entire concept of “Thanksgiving,” pointing out the subsequent massacres that took place once the true intent of the European settlers was ascertained. Since then, beginning in 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving on Cole’s Hill which overlooks Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning.”
“Thanksgiving to me means time to spend with family. I live far away from my own family, and rarely see them on holidays anymore. My partner’s family has accepted me though, and we spend most holidays, including Thanksgiving, with them.”
“It’s also a time of remembrance for me, because my father died 2 weeks before Thanksgiving in 2001 after a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I was supposed to be with them for the holiday that year, but instead spent the week before with my mother, trying to help her get through everything she had to deal with. Not a Thanksgiving goes by without thoughts of my father, and of all the happy Thanksgivings we had while I was growing up.”
“I have two favorite Thanksgiving memories, and being the person I am, they’re not sentimental. They’re more…absurd.
The first one happened when I was about seven. I’ve always been a total smart ass, the family clown, the proverbial boy crying wolf.
So, at the Thanksgiving dinner table with my family, I choked on a turkey bone, and everyone thought I was joking. I mean, I was full-on choking, with the crossed hands at the throat, fully blocked airway, the whole nine yards. All I can remember is thinking that I was going to die while my whole family laughed and pointed…”Oh, look. Isn’t she so funny?” They only realized I was actually choking when my lips turned blue and I fell to the ground. True story. I don’t know who gave me the Heimlich, but I’m happy to be alive to tell the tale. 🙂
Second favorite Thanksgiving memory happened about twenty years later.
My mom didn’t feel like cooking (can’t blame her!), so we went to this super-pricey Thanksgiving buffet at a great restaurant. I’m a notorious potato fan, and their mashed potatoes were legendary. So despite the excessive price per plate and a crazy array of great dishes, my Thanksgiving dinner consisted of a gigantic volcano mound of garlic mashed potatoes. Most expensive plate of smashies I’ve ever eaten! I think my mom half wanted to kill me.
What I’m thankful for? That my family loves me for my weirdness.”
“In a nutshell. Thanksgiving is a time for me to quit my whining and check out how much I have to be grateful for. I make a point to get out into nature and appreciate this glorious Earth trip, tell some people I love them, and share delicious flavors with friends.”
“It has been many years since Thanksgiving was important to me. When I was a child, late November brought the beginning of the snow. We would go to my aunt’s house in the Adirondack mountains. By then, they had enough snow to go sledding at the hill not far from her house. We played with our cousins, ate until our stomach’s hurt, then feel asleep in the car while my dad made the hour and half drive home.
Thanksgiving doesn’t bring the snow anymore. The climate has changed and now it’s well into December sometimes before snow blankets my hometown. And I have been long gone from there, anyway. Here in Tennessee, there is little snow and the corresponding traffic panic hardly makes it worth it.
But this year, Thanksgiving feels good again. This year, I will prepare dinner for my visiting family in the home that I share with the love of my life. The home that we have slowly added pieces of ourselves to over the past year. I’m excited to host my family and spend time with the woman I love.”
“For the past nine years, I haven’t been able to share Thanksgiving with my family. I’ve gone to my parents’ home at times, or I’ve cooked a turkey with my significant other. But I’ve never been able to see those two worlds merge, and for a while, I thought they were mutually exclusive. Fortunately, this is an “it gets better” story, and I’m happy to announce that on Thursday, Trin and I–along with our son and puppy–will make the trip to my parents’ home for Turkey Day. I’m so thankful that this year, I get to spend the holiday surrounded by all of my immediate family.
And I remain more thankful than ever for the family of choice that I’ve found through the LGBT publishing world. Fellow authors, fellow readers, editors, and invaluable staff members: thank you for your continued support, encouragement, and inspiration.”
“Sadly, I lost my grandmother, Dorothy Helen Nickle, on Thanksgiving in 1997. She had a tremendous influence on my life and knew I was going to be a writer even before I did. Every year on the holiday, I celebrate her life by listening to Mack the Knife, watching a Claudette Colbert film, and eating an Eskimo Pie.”
Hope you have a wonderful holiday!
“My partner loves to do ethnic cooking. Since she is Australian and they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, for her that means turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, yep, the whole traditional American feast. Christmas we deviate; I can sneak in oyster dressing then. But Thanksgiving is always full on because, she claims, that she can’t mess with other people’s traditions. So, Thanksgiving for me is a time to hang out in the kitchen, be together (do dishes), have cats on my lap (like right now–keep your paws off the keyboard) totally home cooked meals (yes, even the mashed potatoes) great leftovers (more dishes). And remembering to be thankful for the being able to put the food on the table, travel to be with loved ones and a pause in the passing time.”
Hope you and yours have a great holiday!
“I’d like to share my gratitude for being a Bold Strokes author. Happy Thanksgiving to BSBers
around the world.”
“Besides the huge meal (or couple of huge meals), I consider Thanksgiving the perfect time to reflect on my good fortune: a terrific wife, good health, awesome friends and family. Top all that off the opportunity to live my dream as a published author, and I am a lucky soul indeed. A special thanks to all the folks at Bold Strokes and all the readers out there who have helped me realize my dream.”