Thursday, November 20, 2014

Something small and nice

There's a lot of ugliness in the world right now. One of the things: the likelihood of the Grand Jury verdict coming down in Ferguson today, and what may come of that. While looking at a story online about that, I ran across this:

Lidia's Thanksgiving message.

(Don't read the comments. Ugly, snarky  people even being ugly and snarky there).

Lidia Bastiniach is a tv chef I've watched for a long time. I was delighted to find my cable provider recently picked up PBS' "Create" channel, as they often run her show there in the evenings. She's a "celebrity" chef, I guess, but very different from the super-celebrities (like Emeril or Guy Fieri). She's more low-key. Her show is more about "here is how you prepare this food" and less about her. Mostly, she prepares Italian or Italian-American dishes; sometimes she travels to show regional differences. (I first learned about "St. Louis-style" pizza from her show)

She strikes me as a nice person. I know I've been wrong in feeling that way about a "famous" person before, but every time I've read an interview with her, she comes off as genuine and also - as noted in this short message - grateful for the good things she has:

"As an immigrant Thanksgiving is a very special holiday for us. In our kitchen, the entire family gathers around the table, and we have an opportunity to give America thanks for the gifts in our lives here."

That's just nice. That makes me happy. As a native-born American, yes, I do feel gratitude on Thanksgiving for the gifts I have from living here - the gifts of freedom (esp. compared to being a woman in some other parts of the world), the gifts of opportunity (in two generations, my family has gone from barely-working-class to upper-middle-class), the gifts of education. And the other God-given gifts I enjoy: fairly good health, a family that loves me, friends that love me, a rewarding (mostly) career, enough abilities to provide for my needs in life, and even enough money to be generous with it and support causes I believe in after my own needs are met.

I AM going "home" for Thanksgiving next week. I look forward to it. It's a hectic time - I'm there for effectively three days and then have to turn around and come back - but I couldn't imagine skipping it.

And her last sentences of the commentary, before her trademark "Tutti a tavola a mangiare!:

"This Thanksgiving may your table be one full of love where food is the venue to gather with those who mean the most to you.  May you not only share a delicious meal but also stories, laughter and memories.  
That’s what this holiday is really about."

We need to remember that. The stuff doesn't matter; it's just stuff. It's what we can learn from our elders and the joy we can see in our youthful family members that is what really matters.

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