Thanks and giving – two words that together should mean more than turkey.

While I have not eaten turkey for years, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I’ve never gone hungry – all those wonderful sides, and then dessert. It is a feast whenever I’ve been with a group. Thanksgiving dinner is one of my favorite smells. It puts a smile on my face, all those aromas blending into one delicious memory.

Thanksgiving 2018 at neighbors in Todos Santos. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

But it’s so much more than the food. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to take stock of what you are thankful for and to give to others. Giving can be in the form of sharing food, sharing friendship, sharing memories – giving thanks for the people who are part of your life in small and large ways. Neither the thanks nor the giving have to be in person. Both can be done afar.

For the past several years I have participated in a Friendsgiving instead of the usual family ensemble. While in Lake Tahoe, it had to do with weather, work and my Airbnb rental. In Todos Santos, it’s all about location – 1,500 miles from family. Sharla and Jay continue to open their Tahoe home to a group of friends. While I miss that time, I have found something similar south of the border.

Last year was special with my mom and oldest niece in Todos Santos. We went next door where an elegant table for more than 20 was set. It was cathartic for my mom, who only a couple weeks earlier had lost her Paradise home in the Camp Fire. These people, many whom I had not met and the rest who I barely knew, took us all in. I will forever be grateful.

It’s back to Connie and Andy’s that I go this year, though with a bit of sadness without mom in tow. She’ll be with one of my sisters, so I know it will be special for her. That celebration will also be a bit of a Friendsgiving at Pam’s.

I have plenty to be thankful for this year. Thank you all for being a part of my life and making it that much richer.

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