When we returned last week from our stunning ride through the city center of Lahore, Pakistan here, we realized, once again, just as we always do when we return from a third world experience that our lives were changed forever. On our ride we saw people from every walk of life and every economic level. Seeing beggars on the streets, reminded me that many of those people we passed by had never held a fork, had never had a shower (as we know it), had never ridden in a car or been outside of the city limits of Lahore where they may have been born on the streets or in a shabby dwelling. Some could afford a small donkey or skinny horse to pull a makeshift cart to transport their material goods Others were more well-off and could afford a ride in a motorized rickshaw or even a small moped for their family. Then there were those who had nice cars amidst the cacophony of humanity. I contemplated how life must feel to those I saw on our journey.
One thing I was pretty sure of….no one there had ever been to Costco! As I went almost directly from the airport to that well-loved place to shop for a Thanksgiving feast at our house in less than 48 hours, I was grateful! Oh so grateful! Even though I do realize that there are lots of hungry people in our own country, it doesn’t quite compare with what we saw in that far away place!
As I lugged a turkey into my basket, hurriedly lowered in beautiful pumpkin and apple pies, fresh fruits and vegetables, a ready-made stuffing mix and frozen Rhodes Rolls that only required a few hours to raise and pop into the oven, fresh juice and sparkling apple cider, I couldn’t stop thinking about the blessings of our lives in this free country full of the bounties of the earth! Not only could I buy what I wanted and check out (even though there was the inevitable line) in less than an hour, I could also load them into my car and head for my twenty minute journey home complete with red lights (which I had also grown to appreciate). What a country! And what an event beyond belief that little journey would be to most of the people that we saw on our drive through the ancient city of Lahore!
Not only do we have bounteous physical blessings but we also have emotional security that is only a dream to most of the good people we encountered. I don’t have to fear that my grandchildren will be kidnapped. I don’t have to fear that terrorists might see me doing something they don’t like, or something they do like and happen to want. Just before we arrived in Lahore, a girl’s school had been ransacked and burned by radicals who give the country such a bad name.
Though many feel that we have a divided country after a grueling election, we are so grateful that we had the right to vote without fear and the right to express our opinions without worrying about personal reprisal. So many of our freedoms in this great country are taken for granted!
So…on to a relatively luxurious Thanksgiving celebration we did go:
My wonderful sister came with some of her children and grandchildren. She looked over our world map to pinpoint where we’d been with great interest, as well as making sure that we kept up on the score of the football games (she’s the athlete of the family).
We also had the pleasure of having three of her seven children and their accompanying five grandchildren. I’m so sad that I didn’t get pictures of everyone! Her son Tony brought two turkeys (in addition to the one we had in the oven) to deep fry. They were delicious and there were plenty of leftovers for everyone to take home (the best part as far as many are concerned).
Saren and Jared came with their five kids. Are they cute enough?
Let’s take a little closer look:
Big Daddy Jared was the potato master! Those great Idaho potatoes are like putty in his hands. They were “fabulous” as quoted by 6 year old Cami!
Lindsay and Clark brought their three kids including adorable CJ, whose current occupation is writing on the couch and the walls with a nice black pen!
And our extraordinary neighbors Eric and Leo brought their two darling daughters. Is this little Giselle adorable enough to eat right up?
Here was the cute kids’ table:
And the adults plus Ashton and Isaac!
Between dinner and dessert, we played our traditional Gratitude Game. Each person was asked to list the ten most unique things they were thankful for. It had to be something that hopefully no one else would think of because if there was a duplication from someone else’s list, it had to be crossed off. The one who ended up with the most items not crossed offon their list won! It was a nice way to get into the minds of those we don’t see as often as we’d like and feel their gratitude for the unique things in their lives.
Here we are…thinking….
After dessert Lenna and I had a chance to play some Christmas music together. She on the piano and I on the violin. I think our mother must have been looking down from heaven with delight. After all those years of tears because we didn’t want to practice as she stood over us and said, “Some day you’ll thank me for this!” we’re realized that “some day” has been here for quite a few years! Lenna is an expert accompanist who, among other things, plays once a month at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to entertain those who are in the lobby. We thank her almost every day!
Rick took this picture from the balcony:
And we had such fun singing with kids and adults and kids too!
Especially because of the life-altering experiences we’d just had, it was truly a Thanks-giving Day that we’ll never forget.