November is a favorite month, bringing to mind Thanksgivings past. When I was a child, this holiday was shared with international students from around the world, brought to Lancaster through an exchange program with YWCA New York.
My parents were local liaisons, coordinating homes for dozens of visitors; most of them studying at NYU and Columbia University in New York City. The program offered a reprieve from city life, and a chance to live with a Mennonite or Amish family for a few days. As a child, I was fascinated by these exotic visitors, who brought with them their distinctive clothing and worldliness, accents and languages, food, religious and philosophical viewpoints, and many other gifts that ignited in me a lifelong love for world culture. My first memories of the big city include trips to the Big Apple to collect or return students.
Thanksgiving represents the best part of being American. Our generosity, hospitality and warmth are brought to the fore, sharing our tables with family, friends, and strangers. Let us celebrate the fruits of the earth and the spirit, this month and always. Happy November to all!