Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Long Ago and Far Away

When Jeff and I were first married we lived in Canterbury, England while I did my Master's degree. My class of 25 students from all over the world -- Japan, Norway, Greece, Italy, France, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, England and America -- decided to have a Thanksgiving feast, even though it's not an English holiday.

What the heck. Any excuse for a party.

So we planned. Who would go in to buy the turkey. Who would bring the mashed potatoes. Who would make the stuffing, the green beans, the salad, the cranberry relish. My job was apple pie. Appropriate for the American in the group.

As I was making my pies I looked at Jeff and said, "No one was told to bring wine. We'd better bring a couple bottles."

Well apparently great minds think alike, because ALL 25 of us, plus our two professors, brought wine. It worked out to be more than two bottles of wine per person.

And, of course, we drank it all. We were young. And apparently, not too bright.

My liver hurts just thinking about it.

Consequently, some of the details of the evening are a little hazy. But I do know that we all had a great time.

The Americans in the group told the story of the first Thanksgiving and we all said what it was we were grateful for. My classmates embraced the traditions wholeheartedly, and I hope they remember the celebration as fondly as I do.

But the wine. Oh, the wine! I have to take a couple of aspirin just to write this.

I remember clearly that one of our professors left the party early, probably by 8 p.m. Wet blanket that he was, he admonished us as he left, reminding us that we were all expected to appear for our morning seminar bright and early the next morning.

We smiled and nodded and toasted his departure heartily after the door closed.

We drank and drank and drank. In the wee hours of the morning one of my classmates, who wisely quit drinking early in the evening, drove several of us home. I swear he had a blue car. I later found out it was red.

Did I mention there was a little wine there? And that writing this is bringing back a monstrous headache?

But the next morning at 8:30 a.m. we were all at seminar. Bleary eyes. Pounding heads. Coffee cups in hand. Barely sentient. But there.

I would have felt sorry for our presenter, but I couldn't muster the strength.

As we were about to start the head of the department came in with an announcement.

He informed us that our other professor, who stuck with us until the bitter end, would not be in the office that day.

"He has informed me that after last night's party he feels as if he's been hit by a bus."

Only in England would an professor offer that excuse to his boss. And only in England would his boss chuckle and repeat it to his students.

It was a great Thanksgiving. Because even though we were far from home, we had friends to celebrate with, and we made memories that far outlasted the hangover.

1 comment:

Suz said...

Nice. Sounds like a memory for which I'd be thankful, too. (Wish it were mine!)