Thanksgiving remembered

“Thanksgiving? Tomorrow?” Taken off guard I blurted out my discovery.

The exclamation caught my wife’s attention. Really? Are you sure?

Ann and I had arrived in East Africa in May. Six weeks later we welcomed our first child, Julie. This was the land we would call home. We were to help train leaders in a growing Kenyan church. I ventured into language studies. By November my Swahili classes were in full swing.

That Wednesday, after a usual day of class I returned to our apartment. I casually glanced at a calendar we brought with us on our move from America.

The arrival of our traditional holiday was so unexpected.  I grew mildly indignant – an irrational feeling but  happening just the same.

Tomorrow. And Swahili classes are still on? Well. . .

The contest inside my head was brief.

“Honey,” I announced, “tomorrow I’m cutting class. How about a holiday picnic!”

Thanksgiving of 1972 was gorgeous.  Ann bundled Julie in a colorful blanket. Earlier the same year KFC had launched their finger-lickin’ enterprise in Nairobi.

The aroma of fried chicken filled our Volkswagen Beetle as we set out for City Park.

A garden of jacaranda and bougainvillea received us under sunny skies. A light breeze stirred as I laid out the blanket. Perfect.

We sat cross-legged – nearly motionless on our picnic lawn. And reviewed Thanksgivings of our past. Gratitude rose in Ann and me for many things – finding ourselves especially thankful for Thanksgiving itself. Our infant princess gurgled. We bowed and I voiced our gratefulness.

Turning to Ann, I framed my request precisely and in the polite form, “Kuku tafadhali?” (Some chicken please?)  We chuckled. My language exercise for the day. It would have to do.

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving.”    Psalm 95

©2015 Jerry Lout

 

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