Every year, the Third Thursday of November means we feast. Cliff is the Master chef and I am happy to be Sous chef and grocery go-getter. Besides the bird, Cliff’s Stuffing, the green beans, sweet potatoes, etc., one of our family traditions is to have a new friend sit and join our table. Living in Tokyo has not been so conducive to our US traditional feastery:
Last year, it was obvious we could not cook a turkey of our liking in our apartment oven. Plan B led us to make reservations at the Tokyo American Club’s Thanksgiving Feast. We were also given the opportunity to host 2 marine soldiers and I jumped at the chance. Purely out of the goodness of my heart of course. The whole experience turned out wonderfully. So much so, I declared Thanksgiving Day to be the new Marines at My Table Day.
This year, my marines were only 20 & 18 years old and not so buff or well-dressed. What they lacked in muscle mass they made up in gratitude and innocence. Their names were Mohammad and Jesus (My hand to God). I think Chase weighed more than Jesus!
Jesus is from Mexico and Mohammad from Niger. At one point during our meal, it hit me, we were like a United Nations meeting! or a Benetton ad. I raised my glass and announced, “How the heck did this happen?!?” That’s when Cliff cut me off from the open bar. Allow me to be honest. I don’t usually engage in conversations with people in their teens or 20′s. I’m an ageist. But these 2 soldiers enlightened me in ways that only young men in their circumstance can. In my heart, I hope their families are so proud of what they are doing and what they have accomplished. So many people lack direction, identity, integrity. Not these boys. How can I call them boys when they are willing to die for me? But as I look at them and hear their voices, I know they are boys in their hearts and souls. They inspire me. We move, we relocated, we redefine ourselves. I envy the simplicity of their objective. Maybe I’m complicating my own unnecessarily. Probably. Thanks for the lesson.
Until next time…