Nov 25, 2008

iranian thanksgiving story

Since Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, I thought I'd share a very fond memory I have of one Thanksgiving in Brookings, South Dakota. We lived there when I was in elementary school. I seem to remember that my parents always had people over, especially foreign students who went to South Dakota State University. I remember some Japanese students coming over several times. Once they made a meal for us. An authentic Japanese meal. All I remember is the translucent looking noodles filled with something that reminded me of brains. After talking to Grant & mom, I think they were egg rolls, but I was probably around eight and they didn't look appetizing. I also remember a young couple from the Philippines with a little baby who came over many times. I can still smell their apartment if I concentrate really hard. When I was in high school we travelled to Eastern Europe often, and several times I was transported back to this Pilipino couple's apartment. I'm not sure what the smell was. Does simplicity have a smell? My fondest memory of mom and dad's hospitality to international students was the Iranians. One year days before Thanksgiving while we were at the Mall, my dad started a conversation with a stranger, a man from Iran. This had to be in 1979 or 1980. Maybe 1981. The Iranian Hostage Crisis was either currently going on or had happened recently. Iranians were not well liked. My dad asked him if he had ever experienced an American Thanksgiving and of course he had not. So dad invited him and his family to our house for Thanksgiving day and dinner. I don't remember much about the meal itself. But I do remember that the man brought wife and kids and his parents. Three generations of people who didn't speak English. The man had to translate everything. Still, we managed to communicate with our hands. Besides, us kids didn't need words. Isn't play a universal language? We ate our Thanksgiving meal and went around and shared what we were Thankful For. And I remember thinking how normal these people were. That they weren't so different from me. And that Iranians weren't so bad after all. That's my memorable Iranian Thanksgiving Story.

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