Today, I am in Honolulu with my friends, Jetty and Miller, whom we met via Jenn researching my father’s artwork. I’ve blogged many times how grateful I am to be alive, for my family and friends all over the world. In thinking about what I would write this day, I recall one memorable Thanksgiving at home.
Growing up, I remember nagging my mother to roast a turkey so that we could finally have an American Thanksgiving holiday. This is a mother who never learned to cook until she was 36 years old, shortly before my parents and I escaped from Communist China. But, what did I know, I was a child and I wanted turkey like every other American kid. I don’t remember when she finally succumbed, but I do recall that being one very memorable Thanksgiving.
I was 17 and a freshman in college. Thanksgiving was my first time home, and I was so looking forward to what became our annual turkey dinner – especially after institutional tasteless food at school! As usual, I ate more than my stomach could comfortably hold. My mother always said that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. This time, it worked to my detriment.
My family came down with a severe case of food poisoning, everyone except my father. Having ulcers, his doctor told him not to eat meat. And, me, I ate the most and got the sickest. My father got really scared when my mother, sister and I fought to get into the bathroom. He took action right away, saving our lives. 3 ambulances drove us 12 miles to the nearest hospital, sirens blaring all the way.
The rest of the hospital stay remains a blur, and I missed at least a week of school. I didn’t realize until much later that had it not been for my father’s decisive action, the food poisoning could have been fatal. He also took action with the supermarket that sold us the turkey. Since we had no money after going through bankruptcy, certainly no health insurance, he persuaded the company to pay for the hospital bills.
This Thanksgiving is memorable, not only because of the pain we all went through, but also because this was the first time I can recall my father standing up to the supermarket and getting us the care that we needed.
I am thankful that I am here today to tell the story and to enjoy another turkey. By the way, it took decades before my mother chanced roasting another turkey!
Blessings to all on this Thanksgiving Day, and I hope everyone takes time each day to recall for what he/she have to be thankful.
Gayook (Liou) Wong