Easter reminds me of Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving reminds me of Hong Kong.
In 1990, I took a job in Hong Kong. My husband came along, and as he likes to say, “to carry my bags”. We were fortunate to stay in my boss’s condo, near the top of Victoria’s Peak, with a striking view of downtown Hong Kong and the harbour. (You have to spell it that way when you’re writing about Hong Kong. You just have to!)
While I worked in the financial district each day, Walt was in charge of shopping and cooking! He would spend hours walking the neighborhoods and exploring the shops and would bring home all sorts of delicacies — and, well, had the time of his life. As November approached, and home sickness grew, thoughts of Thanksgiving emerged. And before you knew it, we had invited 17 of our new best friends from the office over for Thanksgiving dinner. What makes this fabulous, is that each of these kids, and they were kids, were from different parts of the world; each with their own ethnicity, and all with a different idea of what one must eat on this holiday.
So, the day arrived and Walt began his preparations. I have never seen a man so proud of his treasures: a turkey, potatoes, green beans, and canned cranberry sauce. I was told to stay out of the teeny kitchen and to be in charge of setting the table (with the view of the harbour!) The phone rang: “Hello, is Walter there?” — Why, yes, may I say who’s calling? “Yes, this is Merja down the street. I understand that your husband has some cranberry sauce available?” — Oh, uh, OK, let me put him on the phone. There were a few words exchanged, and he went back to his cooking. The phone rang again: “Hello, is Walter there?” — Yes, may I say who’s calling? “Yes, this is Joan, an ex-Pat down the street. I understand that your husband has some cranberry sauce available?” — Once again, I turned the phone over to Walt. After he hung up, I said, “OK, what gives?” He smiled, and opened up the pantry cupboard: I counted about 24 cans of cranberry sauce. I looked back at him and saw that grin that I know so well, and he said, “Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce.”