Thanksgiving on the Lanai

This Thanksgiving has been a little different for me. I’m visiting my parents at their new place in Florida, instead going back to Chicago. Obviously, there have been some differences, not just limited to bringing the cans of pop inside to chill rather than putting them out on the back porch. Because in this case, outside is 80 degrees (not 40), and the porch is a lanai. And I think when something is called a lanai the only beverages allowed are the fruity kind.

My parents arrived in Florida only a few weeks ago, and there are still a few boxes around. Plus one whole extra bedroom that is only boxes.

But it is already starting to look more familiar. The box in the dining room held the Thanksgiving tablecloths. The tablecloths have come out every year so that those seated around the table can write out their gratitude in black Sharpie. Serious and silly, young and old.

Listed in the various years of thankfulness have been: health, harmonicas, couscous, family, TV, paid-off student loans, unexpected guests, tofurkey, being old enough to help now, still being able to help, and not being able to see Russia from our house.

I can see what mattered to me each year, if I took it seriously that year or if I was even present at all. With so many changes this year – moves, births, deaths – these table cloths are a way for everyone who I want to be with to be present. Not only do we have those people with us, in a way, we have what they valued.

Right now, GLOE is finishing up our Big Jewish LGBT Survey. The survey takes stock of what we value right now in our community. If you are Jewish and LGBT in the greater DC area, you should fill out the survey (whether you’ve attended something or never have). Anyone who has participated in a GLOE event should fill it out, too.  Of course there are prizes for filling it out, but really, it’s about hearing what people think at this moment in time. What do we want to celebrate at our metaphoric table this year? What do we wish we had here?

As you consider what you’re thankful for this year, please take a moment to reflect on our Jewish LGBT community (or pass it along to friends!).

One survey respondent, when asked what she values seeing at GLOE events, answered, “Hot butch women.” Something to write on the tablecloth, indeed.


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