Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past

Earlier today, I wrote to a few friends recalling some of the highlights from the Thanksgivings that we spent overseas - among some of our happiest, I must say. There were the North American turkeys that Kathy Gannon and I hunted down in Pakistan and then had delivered to the kitchen door of Pasha's house to be served up to every starving and wayward hack who was passing through Islamabad far from home and looking for a scoop and some sort of understanding of what was going on in Afghanistan - and that was 14 years ago. (They were more likely to come away with a clear understanding of what went into Mushtaq's stuffing when he explained it in Urdu.) There were the folding tables that filled the old Arab house that we rented in Jerusalem that I covered with white bed sheets and then seated 25 - again wayward hacks far from home, as Craig Nelson tried to whip up a gravy in his carefully imported Williams-Sonoma pans and I told him to sacrifice a little gourmet for a little speed as 25 people were watching the turkey get cold. Then there was James Arroyo and Drummond walking out of the Arroyo's East Jerusalem kitchen wearing white aprons and looking like they had just stepped out of a Monty Python sketch, smoke pouring out of the poorly ventilated kitchen. But, boy, did those kosher turkeys taste good after the 3rd bottle of Petit Castel. And there were the wonderful Thanksgiving dinners that Eli ordered up from the American Colony hotel to be delivered to West Jerusalem to our offices in JCS so that the visiting Americans felt at home while still working a two shift schedule :) from the Jerusalem bureau. But perhaps the most significant Thanksgiving was back in South Africa after Greg and I had first started dating and I showed up at his apartment to surprise him with a whole turkey that I had cooked myself - for just me and him. It was a beauty and probably the first and last turkey that I had cooked all by myself.