By  Waltie Ainsworth                  11 21 2011

Gratitude is the foundation of families and this year’s thanksgiving feast, will be both awkward and stressful as immigrant comrades and cells from the Caribbean  try to redefine and re-identify themselves as America reboots in the midst of a financial crisis.  Traditionally, thanksgiving is about the jert (food) and finding a seat at the communal table but the reality dictates a certain inner strength and willpower.  We have seen more difficult times and this is just another as we network and show our network by communing together.    

There was a time when the family thanksgiving feast used to be held in the home of the matriarch, self appointed as it may be and all the children, grandchildren, in laws and by laws would come from the night before and help set the table… sleeping on the floor, hiding under the covers in the spare room or finding a couch in the basement.  Those days we used to bring our latest gadgets, our cars, show off our green cards, bring pictures of the dog and showcase our academic prowess or the newest chic on the bloc.  It used to be an all night ganga (session) – music and cutters and whole night gaffing and popping bottles of champagne used to be the high point.

Families will also discuss new arrivals, who died, who got deported and who get bus’ off, or new destination vacations or bargain centers.  Sometimes they would talk about who send shopping list or who asking for a monetary donation, cricket election or selection.    These days, foreclosures, funerals, fees for schools, fears and feuds are talking points… depression, disorders, deportations and diseases, demand dissertations.   A lot of negative feelings dominate the sessions.

Please do not get the idea that I am talking about your peeps or any particular family.  One of the great things about America is that it is an equal opportunity offender; we are all connected.  The snow falls on everyone’s roof top.

Things are not the way they used to be.  Finances may be low but the attitude must be gratitude.  Money, mattress and mortgages are not all that define us.  It is the little rituals of sharing, caring and believing that there is a greater source than the merchants, malls and markets that can catapult us into a place of plenty, contentment and community.

The American Auto Association which tracks road travels has forecasted that each family will travel an average of 100 miles to get to dinner.  Bring the kids, bring your new partner and pre cook some of the food so that by the time you negotiate the tolls, bridges and tunnels, you would not be as stressed.

Age, alliances and addresses have also taken a toll on some families.  Years ago, we used to know each other’s taste according to their age but these days of rigid diets and caloric intakes, there is change.  Some folks have kinas.  Some people too, used to have spouses with life time warranties, not anymore.  Long ago you could have brought a needy friend to dinner or a co-worker.  Nope.  You have to call in advance and state the numbers so that the visitor can have a chair next to a person who is tolerant.

Finally, in suburbia and exurbia, some addresses especially in new developments, are not on MapQuest.  Get physical directions and land marks and supplement this with the GPS.  Also beware that there is something called geographical behavior.  Address your attitude and gratitude accordingly.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

The Author: Ewalt (Waltie) Ainsworth

This article/story is one of many on this site that has been written by Guyana-born Ewalt (Waltie) Ainsworth.  He left Guyana in the early 1980′sand now lives in New Jersey. He is now almost totally blind but this impediment has not stopped his academic studies or his ability to craft his interesting and sometimes amusing stories about Guyana, the USA, and life.  E-mail:

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