Try as we did, our English friends didn't make it out to our festivities -- save one, whose name I don't remember. But in the midst of all this hubbub and new friendships, I felt as though among family. True family. Family I barely knew, but family who understood the importance of this time of year. Family that I've since lost touch with over the years, but who have remained fervent kindred spirits of mine.
One of the most treasured memories is that of my friend Ben, who tragically passed away only a couple years after this occasion. He was on-the-phone and off-the-phone consistently with his mother back in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania -- asking for help and tips and making sure we were doing everything right. It was Ben -- above the rest of us, coming from a family of ten -- who made the event especially sacred, ensuring that our Thanksgiving in Oxford was nothing short of magical.
And it was.
Flash forward three years, and I again find myself amongst makeshift family for this holiday. This time the family was one which had been forged by years of carefully curated relationships that still hold fast today. Three girls traveled the lengths to Connecticut to visit our best friend so that he would not be alone for the holidays. Having just moved there, many household staples were missing -- like can openers, silverware, and the like -- and we found ourselves scrambling out to the store on Thanksgiving Day to see if we could find basic necessities. Another flurry of activity and silliness marked this day, as well as an understanding that we were no longer students but had graduated into adulthood -- with apartments and jobs and lives separate from our parents. Thanksgiving was a time to show that we were growing up with -- but not apart from -- one another.
(Can you tell I love this holiday?)