When it gets down to it, the biggest part of Thanksgiving is being with family and/or friends you love. Ok, sometimes the love is like eating Aunt Gertrude's circus peanut candies that she's brought to Thanksgiving dinner for the last 150 years. From the same bag. Be polite. Stuff it in your pocket. It'll still be good next year. That kind of love.
For me, it is about being with people I truly want to be with, since my brother and children are too far away. While locals are surrounded by family (I think there are three families on Culebra and everyone is related like it or not), many of us have families everywhere but here. While we may be lucky enough to get a local family invite, there will be groups of people getting together for some kind of feasting around the island with others who don't get to sit down for pavochon and mofongo dressing. Each group makes sure that any newcomers they've gotten to know have a place at the table.
I get together with a group of friends and an invite list that expands and expands with everyone inviting someone, until sometimes we have no idea who walked in the door. I've been invited by strangers to our own dinner. While we've never set a menu of what to bring, it always is balanced. Enough mains, enough sides, enough desserts. It just works. Over and over. And year after year, the invited who come and go know they can always come back again if they are here for Thanksgiving. Unless they bring circus peanut candy, which constitutes grounds to never be invited anywhere, ever again.
Phones ring or calls are made to parents and children, brothers and sisters, sharing the day with those far off. Plates are filled and emptied, the table once beautiful becomes the table now decimated. Eventually someone starts washing some dishes. Then it's 'move over, my turn' while leftovers are packaged, plates are made up for those who had to work or couldn't make it for some reason but are home and hungry. Suddenly it is only a small group of friends again, searching (and searching) for one last bottle of wine to share before heading home. The orphans are fed, the day is done. We can sit back and look at our friends and laugh and talk about the day and evening, glad to be together. With thanks.
*No post tomorrow...I have to find some circus peanuts and it will take all day.