During some of the years that we lived in Taiwan we were included in what could be called “affinity group” Thanksgiving meals. On year when at our home we invited just a few people to join us on that Thursday night. Among those invited was a friend 20 years our senior She had seen her 3 offspring leave Taiwan after high school, and her husband was out of Taiwan on business that week. Upon arrival she was taken aback that we were serving spaghetti. At our house, we didn’t do turkey. When in the USA every few years and resident during November, we’d gather with family members around the extended table at Char’s parents’ place. The number of people around THAT table expanded as grandchildren “acquired” spouses, children, and significant others.
One hears of noble people in every state and town who plan Thanksgiving dinners paying attention to who might otherwise be alone on the day. They invite diverse groups of friends and acquaintances to feast. This year we found ourselves in one of those categories, (hint, not the “noble people” one). We were guests at “the Young family Thanksgiving feast.” Bob and Shaomay Young are Chinese. They came to the USA in the late 1960s, met in graduate school, married and settled. They had two children. Bob did well in business, working with Motorola during the early years of the “cell phone” thing. Their home is on the north side of Chicago, just over the county line. They had a son and a daughter. We became part of their extended household when our daughter, Kate, married their son, Gene.
We’d heard about their parties at Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year, but had never been present for one. After they “received “ Kate into their clan, they “adopted” our son, Grant, when he chose a college near their home for his undergraduate studies. When Grant married Katelyn, SHE became part of the family, too. Bob and Shaomay have a wide network of friends. Thanksgiving this year included 21 people. Long term friends, those friends’ children, those children’s spouses, and those spouses parents. Illinois, Michigan, Maine, Virginia and one guy who was in town from China for a week.
We’ve now got a different “affinity group”, and hope to be included in it during future years. Noble people come from many places. It is wonderful that they extend invitations to such as ourselves. We’re going to have to pass this kind of favor along.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.