My friend Kiki keeps a beautiful horn of plenty on her dining room table. It looks very festive and fallish and her cats like to chew on the basket, just like the pilgrim kitties did at the first Thanksgiving. At first glance you would think it’s a regular cornucopia display, but if you look closer you will see something unusual…
So, the story goes, when Kiki was in preschool, her teacher, like most American preschool teachers, asked each child in the class to bring in a fruit or vegetable. The intension was that all the goods would be gathered in the classroom cornucopia and then everyone could see the bounty of their communal contributions bundled together. You know the drill. A popular concept, I suppose, and there is a decent chance you or one of your children participated in something similar at one point in life.
Like each of her classmates, Kiki went home and asked her father for a fruit or vegetable to bring into class. Any fruit or vegetable would do. Her father gave her the first fruit he saw in the pantry—a can of Del Monte peaches.
The teacher could have told her to come back with an apple the next day. Or a pear. Or a some corn. Or broccoli. Or whatever. But she didn’t. The teacher, wise in her ways, put Kiki’s can of peaches in the display alongside the various sundry of fresh produce brought in by the other children. This woman recognized that Kiki’s contribution was a little different than the other kids’, but it counted just the same. And in a weird way, I suppose that is the parable of Thanksgiving right there.
People think that Thanksgiving is about food and family, and okay, for some people it is. I prefer to think that it’s more about inclusiveness. About belonging somewhere. About being with people who accept you for what you are, even if your packaging is a little weird.
I swear to Mandy Patinkin that this post is not sponsored by Del Monte and the peaches connection is totally coincidental. I just thought Kiki’s tradition was pretty sweet and worth sharing just before the holiday. I have so many reasons to be thankful this year and you, all of you, are the top of the list.