Remembering the magic of Thanksgiving in Dublin
Irish American celebrates America's speical day thousand of miles from her home and family
Cut and run. Cut and run. Cut. And. Run.
The phrase has been playing over and over again in my mind, like a guitar lick you just can’t get out of your head.
For some reason, when you live away from home, holidays and birthdays seem to be the days on which you really take account of what you are doing with your life.
And today, the American holiday of Thanksgiving(the one day in the year that we all traditionally spend with our families), is no different than the other holidays.
It’s like you want to answer the inevitable question that’s constantly playing in the back of your mind: what is it that's keeping me so far from my family and my home?
I turned 25 a month ago. I’m a quarter of a century old; closing in on thirty. And what do I have to show for myself?
Many of my friends are foreign correspondents working in dangerous locations around the world, or have made noted documentaries that have helped people in need all over the world; they have good, solid jobs with purpose, and even, mortgages.
I have a stockpile of debt and a few part-time jobs. A lot of good friends and wonderful memories, but a lot of debt from basic living expenses.
I grew up in the Bronx. The good old Woodlawn section of the Bronx. When I was young, every time we drove into the city, Manhattan’s inimitable skyline would play on my heartstrings, and told me if I could make it there, I could make it anywhere.
In a way, I made it there. Well, I was at least well on my way towards making it there, working on several different documentary projects with a lot of heart. I never took a job that didn’t live up to my personal standard of integrity.
And then I came to Ireland. I had experience. Work ethic. Moxy, even. And after a year and a half, I still haven’t made it here.
My journalistic career has veered and sputtered, like a car that insists on dying, no matter what the driver does, since I’ve arrived. The silver lining is that I’ve made many, many lovely friends: infinitely interesting souls who have welcomed my sister and I with open arms and taught us all about Ireland, Irish culture, and how to live richly on a tight budget.
Most days, my sister and I are like stereotypical members of a Sean O’Casey-made family, falling into the category of, “they were poor but they were happy.”
But every so often, especially on holidays like today, those three words slice through all the others, and dig deep: cut and run.
That’s the phrase G.W. Bush used to use when his opponents called for a withdrawal from Iraq.
“We don’t cut and run,” he’d say, “We’re Americans.”
Although I never agreed with much of anything former President Bush had to say, I wonder if that ethos, that foolish pride, is part of what’s keeping me from going home. Why don’t I just darned well quit? As my brother often jokingly says, “quit while you’re far behind.”
This will be the second Thanksgiving I’ll spend with my sister in Ireland, in a country where the holiday technically doesn’t exist.
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