Lately, my children have a fascination with all things British -- I think it's a result of watching "Flushed Away" over and over, or maybe meeting my friend Janet Gordon from London not too long ago. ("Daddy," Diego whispered, as Janet charmed him and his brother in my living room last month, "she really speaks British.")
One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is from 1987, when my girlfriend and I were living with our college friend, Tim Knight, and a band of BUNAC (British University North America Club) American expats for about a month in a flat in the Kilburn section of London, where we were studying to become certified English teachers. We were a pretty clueless crew, incapable of simple tasks like cleaning the shower curtain, which was an impressive science experiment of mold-cultivation. We were a fun bunch, though, and we knew how to laugh it up on the regular.
London was gorgeous in that month or so I was living there -- adorned with Christmas lights, which looked especially lovely in that historic city. On Thursday, November 27, the holiday season was in full swing, and outside our little group of expatriate misfits, the day was just another winter Thursday.
We, however, were aware that it was the last Thursday of the month, and we felt compelled to make something of the day. Between the 10 to 12 of us, we managed to throw a turkey in the oven and have it come out pretty well. There may have been some imbibing going on that day, as well, so we didn't stand on ceremony, as far as the table setting was concerned. In fact, I don't remember any plates at all.
We were a dozen young, unkempt and carefree Americans living in an Irish neighborhood in London, drunkenly devouring turkey with the trimmings. It was a unique moment, a moment verging on perfection, a moment steeped in the joyful ether of youth.
It's a moment I won't forget.