Dim Sum Diaries
The day of Thanksgiving was sunny but chilly. We had taken the train from Cambridge to spend the holiday with Des’s classmate Abby. Her dad picked us up from the train station. As we pulled into the driveway, I sniffed appreciatively at the scent of baking pies wafting from their trim and tidy house. The house had been painted a cheery yellow, I noted. As we walked up the brick steps leading to the house, the door opened. Abby’s mom stepped out and was still wiping her hands on her apron as she smiled in greeting.

“Hello,” she said warmly. We greeted her in return and walked inside. Holiday music was playing in the background as she directed Des and me to the room we would stay in for the night.

“This part of the house was built in the 1700’s,” she said. “You gals wash up and come down so we can chat, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Des and I chorused together. As she left, I put my gear down and surveyed the room. An antique iron bed covered by a white eyelet duvet dominated the room. The walls were covered in a soft cream while the wintry sunlight streamed in through the windows, making the room light and airy.

"Wow, the 1700's." I repeated reverently. I sat on the bed and bounced a little, testing the springs. "Maybe somebody famous like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson slept here." I mused.

"Not unless GW was into bestiality. This is a converted barn, dork." Des smirked.

"Shut up, Ms. Beacon-Of-Truth-And-Light!" I snapped back. We both just grinned at each other.

After we settled in, we went downstairs to help with the cooking. However, Abby’s mom seemed to have everything well in hand and just shooed us away. I passed the time by napping. Eventually dinner was ready and we all sat down to eat. A linen tablecloth had been laid over the table. Candles glowed softly in the light and lent the table a formal appearance. A golden brown turkey sat in a place of honor. Dishes of buttered mash potatoes, sweet potato pie, stuffing, cranberry relish and rolls steamed fragrantly. Abby’s dad sat at the head of the table and began to carve the turkey. Sitting with Abby’s family was like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. My family had always celebrated Thanksgiving with a turkey, but we usually had rice and Chinese dishes as an accompaniment. Our idea of cranberry sauce was (and still is) the cylindrical wedge from the can. My family is quite large and tended to eat buffet style with everyone sitting in different areas of the house. To my Chinese eyes, I was seated with the perfect American family with the perfect American Thanksgiving dinner.

After Abby’s dad carved the turkey, we ate while listening to Christmas music. Des told me later that Abby’s sister wasn’t speaking to her dad and about Abby’s issues with her family. Reality had crept back in and Abby’s family seemed more like my own---a bickering, exuberant lot. But for a single moment it felt pretty groovy to be part of that Norman Rockwell picture.