Thanksgiving, the perfect segue to Advent

Thanksgiving celebration isn’t just on Thursday.  This popular holiday draws family members and friends from afar, for a merry observance of this joyous occasion that extends over the “black Friday” and on to the weekend. My Thanksgiving started with a hefty Thursday lunch at my sister Susan’s home in Palo Alto, California that lasted the whole day.  It was a welcomed opportunity to be with friends we hadn’t seen a long while due to pandemic restrictions.  The animated, incessant chats were interrupted repeatedly by urgings to come to the buffet table for more eats. We succumbed. There was a priest there, invited by my brother-in-law Mario for a second house blessing.  But for some minutes of subdued, respectful prayers, the party conversations were exuberant and loud, punctuated by intermittent outbursts of cries from a super cute seven-month-old baby Julie, my sweet playmate that day.  As customary, we happily took home food still left on the buffet table.

I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with my son John, daughter-in-law Natasha and grandson Eliott Friday night at Sundance restaurant in Palo Alto.  After eight years, I got my heart’s craving – a 10-ounz prime rib medium-cooked with a zesty, lightly sweetened and spiced sauce poured over the robust and moist meat glowing in its own juice.  Deliciously soft, creamy spinach and pieces of sliced carrots and broccoli more than just adorned the presentation on the side of the plate.  My son made the perfect choice of restaurant.  An old, popular dining establishment in Palo Alto, the place was full and quite lively that night — brought back fond and nostalgic memories of when my husband (now deceased) and I frequented that restaurant when our children John and Joy were very young.

With all the scrumptious leftovers from those feasts, I continue to celebrate Thanksgiving with an abundance of delicacies that fill my refrigerator at home.

As a matter of fact, Thanksgiving is also today, as we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent.

Thursday Thanksgiving lunch (Photo by Susan P. Veloro)

Prime rib from Friday Thanksgiving dinner (Photo by John S. Jacob)

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Part 5: Snippets, teasers and cliffhangers

Thanksgiving, the Feast of Gratitudes

Thanksgiving, by my preferred definition, is the Feast of Gratitudes. This brings to mind Thanksgiving celebrations which we traditionally hosted at home when my husband was alive.  A custom we adopted before the meal and while everyone gathered around the festive table was asking all to mention what they were thankful for.  The first time we did this, we caught our guests in surprise.  They either stuttered for some long seconds, digged deep for answers, stumbled over words – or were just stunned quiet.  Funny and amazing to me – I privately surmised, shouldn’t we be quick in identifying what we’re thankful for.

Perhaps, the difficulty was prioritizing the names or things.  Perhaps, it was an unexpected query into what one values in life meriting gratitude.  Maybe, it was a painful question of the moment, an uninvited peek that lent confusion.  I honestly don’t know.  But what I remember is that the next year we broached the improvised custom before Thanksgiving meal, the same guests were ready.  It was like listening to endless thank you’s during an Oscar awards night.  No awkward tension in the air, but hearty declarations of gratitude that put smiles in everyone’s face.

Gratitude is the real meat of Thanksgiving.  For me, I always top my list with a love-filled thank you to our Father God in His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit – and then, to family, loved ones, friends … and on and on and on, a list hard to interrupt, like the garrulous rush during the warning from orchestral music on Oscar awards night.

Let’s be ready with our lists in our hearts and minds, for the coming Feast of Gratitudes.  Happy, blessed Thanksgiving, everyone!


Symbolical painting by Peck Piñon, celebrated Filipino artist

So fascinated by a photo that Jaja, the son of my nephew Chito, sent me, that I share it here in my blog.  It is a picture of an oil painting on canvas by Filipino celebrated artist Peck Piñon, who also distinguished himself as a comedian/actor.  The framed artwork is a gift of Chito’s Uncle Narding Paco, a retired businessman and modest art connoisseur and collector. Now in his late senior years, Narding has seen the heydays of his thriving business and its decline due to unfortunate circumstances.  Chito and his siblings regard this uncle and his wife Lety with extreme gratitude for the selfless role the couple has taken in generously helping the family through challenging times. The priced painting is a precious gift to Chito from Narding.

Picture of an oil painting on canvas by celebrated Filipino artist Peck Piñon (Photo by John Albert Pandes)

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Party leftovers continue the celebration

Today, I pulled out some packed food from my freezer, leftovers from last Sunday’s party at home.  Contentedly I thought, ah, the party’s not over – for me at least.  After a quick nuke in the microwave, the food looked as enticing and fresh as it did last Sunday.  Then straight to my salivating mouth. I love good leftovers! Don’t you?

Sunday’s birthday celebration for Lili, Linda and Cai (current and retired work mates) was a potluck extravaganza. The long table was fully laden with a festive variety of dishes representing  different ethnic backgrounds: American continental, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Filipino, and several in between (with traces of cultural influences but not distinctly identifiable).  My regret was not having a picture of the attractive culinary array.  We were all so eager to dive into the main activity of the gathering after a robust happy birthday song. At 1 p.m., perhaps, we all were starving and raring to partake of one another’s delicacy.

The feast in front of our eyes mesmerized us.

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