Al sent this picture to me at 9:30AM EST on Thanksgiving Day.

FullSizeRender-6.jpg10 reasons why this picture made my day and why I love my stepdad, Al:

  1. Al’s hat, the blessed turkey hat
  2. Al’s fan gear, specifically his Lions Ugly Sweater
  3. Al, the only guy I know who loves flowers equally as much as he loves football
  4. Al’s flower arrangement, the fact that he brought it tailgating, and the Lions bobblehead figurine in the center of it
  5. Al’s beer before breakfast
  6. Al’s craft beer before breakfast
  7. Al’s near-empty craft beer before breakfast
  8. The disinfectant wipes, which were probably mom’s doing
  9. The plastic cutlery that have been neatly rolled into white paper napkins; again, probably mom
  10. The Turkey Dude

While I wasn’t drinking a craft beer when I received this photo, I was enjoying a chilled glass of white wine and getting ready to sit down to my own Thanksgiving Dinner. I raised my glass in a toast to the beer Al held in his hand and blew a kiss into the cross-Atlantic wind.

Then, I sent my love and luck to Ford Field and joined them in spirit.


Being in Ireland for Thanksgiving, which according to Detroit Lions fans, is pretty much the best day of the year, meant that I didn’t get to join in on the game day festivities.


Being here meant that I didn’t get to wake up before dawn and drive to a dark parking lot in Detroit, pitch a tent, swing the tailgate open, drink a beer before breakfast or indulge in the full-on Thanksgiving Feast that Al would prepare for any and every hungry stomach, Lions fan or not.


Now, while I tend to lean towards hating everything the NFL stands for, I will always appreciate the beautiful bonding and rich memories that come about as a result of this tradition and the sheer excitement that fills the air on this special day. If you’ve never been at Ford Field when the Lions score their first touchdown on Thanksgiving Day, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. If you have, you get the picture.


On Thanksgiving Day here at the hermitage, we feasted with friends from Australia, Ireland, England and America. We said our goodbyes to Christy and took one last photo together.


We offered our thanks to Pat, Ceil, and Thomas, who have so graciously put up with us throughout these two months and trusted us to enter into the sacred spirit of this place.


At the end of the day, I have nothing but gratitude (and yes, sometimes sadness) for the hours, experiences, people and places that have passed in and out of my 90 days abroad and counting. Thanks for being a part of it with me.



5 thoughts on “thanksgiving

  1. Al is a hoot! What’s the rest of the story when Lions win, as they did? Your journey words are a blessing to those of us with a similar spirit, tickling our memories of days gone by. I remain interested in where your vessel goes in to port!

    1. Yes, Al is a character. I’m sure you can imagine what the rest of the story is if they win. If you’ve been tailgating since dawn, you go home with a smile on your face and fall into bed. 🙂

      1. We fell into bed with hot plates of leftovers! What a great day.
        Another sweet piece of writing, Chels. Both Al and I were touched (I believe he said he got some sriracha sauce in his eye–both of them).

      2. All good men occasionally have Sriracha sauce in their eyes. Love to you both. Was I right about the napkins and disinfectant wipes? Your doing? What kind of craft beer was I missing out on?

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