November 26, 2015
Years ago when I didn’t have a family of my own, a friend of mine invited me to her home for Thanksgiving dinner. She made me feel like a member of her family. Every Thanksgiving since that year, I think about how my friend’s generous and loving spirit affected me that day and beyond and clarified my outlook on life. Thank you, Merle.
Now that I have a family, I want to create fond memories for my own children. Rather than just have a small family dinner, my husband and I invite friends to our home for a local-style, casual Thanksgiving dinner. The entire family looks forward to spending time eating and laughing with this group of lively Hiloans.
Over the years these friends of ours have become family to us. Their children are growing up with our children and my husband and I consider these friends to be more than just a fun group of folk to hang out with but also people we can count on–like family. The fact that they are great company is a bonus!
On to the food–as an amateur and novice in the kitchen, I was intimidated the first year we had the group together, but I found that this group of friends made everything from the cooking to the carving easy for me. I make a few dishes and each family graciously brings some of their favorite dishes to share. We always end up having an incredible array and quantity of food and everyone is happy and full at the end of the evening. This year, we had a delicious deep-fried turkey, ham, prime rib, baked mahi mahi, spinach pasta, Caesar salad, yams, oxtail soup, spam musubi, Portuguese sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and more for our feast. We had lots of desserts too–homemade pies, brownies, banana cake–Eri’s lilikoi chiffon pie is always a hit with everyone!
As I reflect on Thanksgiving and what it means to me and my family, I think not just about all the yummy food, but about how precious our time together is to us. This time is so fleeting, especially noticeable now as we watch our children grow up. Many of our children are now in high school. We have crossed a threshold–we are no longer families with toddlers and preteens–we are now families with kidults. Who knows what our future Thanksgivings will look like? There will definitely be changes as our children get more independent, go off to college (hopefully), and one day (far into the future) have families of their own. With that in mind, this group enjoys each moment as we get them. Living Hilo Style. Happy Thanksgiving.