After my Grandfather died, the idea of doing a traditional Thanksgiving no longer appealed to me. Last year, John and I went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a parade that I watched at my grandparents’ home every Thanksgiving morning growing up (and well into my 20’s). Seeing it live last year was a wonderful experience and one that I will never forget. John and I thought about attending the parade again this year and when we booked our long trip up north, it was what we had in mind. I am so happy that we decided to go with another option.
Upon finding out that we would be in the city for Thanksgiving, my brother Ben’s boyfriend, Matt, invited us to join his extended family for Thanksgiving in Connecticut. At first we planned to attended the parade and then catch a late bus to Connecticut with the hope that we would be there in time for dinner. However, after meeting some of Matt’s family in Massachusetts at the beginning of our trip and finding out how incredibly kind and inviting they are, we decided to go up a day early with Matt and Ben.
After spending Wednesday in Madison, Connecticut, we headed to Old Lyme for Thanksgiving. The lovely home we had Thanksgiving dinner in was built before 1805. The wood beaming, original fireplaces, and beautiful wood floors were warm, inviting, and full of historic New England charm. In between sips of warm cider, football game shenanigans, and a visit to a historic graveyard nearby, I captured as much of the house as I could. By the time most of the food was finished, I had put my camera away but I did manage to capture the amazing pumpkin pie that Matt’s cousin made before I stepped out from behind the lens.
Even more impressive than the historic home and delicious food was the amazing New England hospitality. I know that the South is known for being hospitable but I now believe that Southerners have nothing on New Englanders. I’ve never felt more at home and at ease in a place I had never been, with people I had never met. Matt’s extended family is filled with some of the kindest, most caring, and hilarious people that I have ever met.
My favorite Thanksgiving moment was about halfway through dinner when one of the elder uncles shared what he was most thankful for and inspired half of the other family members to share what they were thankful for as well. Matt thanked everyone for being so loving and supportive of him and it was hard not to get a little misty eyed. After a tough year politically and socially, those of us in marginalized groups that have support are more thankful for that support than ever. It felt wonderful to spend Thanksgiving with people who are accepting and supportive of who I am, and all types of people. I can easily say that I haven’t enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner so immensely since both of my grandparents were alive. I can only hope that John’s performance on the football field and my awesome conversational skills have earned us an invite for next year’s festivities.