My mother moved my sister and I to South Florida when I was 12 years old. The transition from French Canada to English (mostly) Miami was rough, to say the least. One thing that tied us back to our roots was the fact that we were allowed to have horses and ride like we’d done back in Quebec.
Stables aren’t the most common thing in the center of North Miami, but we found a place where the North Miami Police housed its horses, only 5 minutes from our place. The man who owned and managed the place, Mr. Chadwick, was in his late 70s, in poor health without a friend or family member around. He was one of the most miserable human beings I’ve encountered since. We called him Scrooge and he yelled at us and was mean to us every chance he got.
One Thanksgiving, mom was back in Quebec finishing her nursing refresher course, so we spent the holiday with my Grand-Father who’d come down to be with us while mom was away, and to work in South Florida. He considered himself a cook, but the truth was that he was pretty awful cook, especially compared to my Grand-Mother who made feasts out of a few simple ingredients. On this particular Thanksgiving, he decided to make a traditional USA holiday meal, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies. Before we were to eat, Grandpa fixed a huge plate of food and told us we were going to deliver it to Mr. Chadwick. After much protest from us girls about why we should be nice to a man who was so mean to us, Grandpa explained that the holiday was about giving thanks and that although we were in a strange place, without family around, that the three of us had each other and a meal fit for kings and that we just had to share it with someone who had nothing. Reluctantly, we made our way to the stables where Mr. Chadwick lived, and were greeted by an old man in tears over our act of kindness.
Since that emotional Thanksgiving, I’ve tried to do something kind for someone and have hosted traditional meals for friends who, like us, don’t have family in the USA or are apart from their loved ones. This year, I’m fortunate, and thankful, to have friend from South Florida with us to help celebrate this special holiday.
If you’re reading this post, you’re a food or wine fan (or perhaps my mommy) and as a supporter of No Kid Hungry, I’d like to tell you that your donations this holiday season to help Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign will ensure that no child in the United States goes hungry. Just $1 can help connect a child to 10 healthy meals. Here’s a link to learn more about this worthwhile cause.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!