There are many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Specifically, I have many things for which to be thankful.
Thankfulness, family, pilgrims and Indian corn, little kids coloring outlines of their hands to look like a turkey, food, football and a day off of work (for most). Now that we've gotten that out of the way here's what I'm thankful for: the First Amendment.
I was having Thanksgiving lunch with my friend Jay since neither of us could make it home for the holidays and I was bemoaning the fact that I had to come up with an idea for a column. I didn't want to write about politics and I figured everyone was tired of turkey stories.
December 1, 2003
As we sat in the Iraqi restaurant (in Kentucky) I felt increasingly apprehensive. I was visiting with a friend and his girl. It wasn't them. And it wasn't the Iraqi proprietress, it was the other Americans. There was a large table of Americans sitting together enjoying dinner, or perhaps plotting. A Caucasian waitress comes to take our order and I become increasingly more frightened. Straight ahead of me there is a belly dancer in exotic clothing who is handed a sword by some long-haired yokel who takes a seat with the potentially dangerous conspirators. Fear turns to confusion when I realize I thought belly dancing was primarily a Moroccan thing, extending across North Africa perhaps, but not to Iraq. Don't pay me too much mind about that, I'm not a traveled person. But was the dancing just in the interest of entertaining the unknowing, uncaring American patrons? Is one Arabic speaking country just as good or the same as the next to us? Can we mix and match Middle Eastern novelties? Two young, good looking Arab girls walk in and start smoking a "Hooka" and speaking in Arabic to the Iraqi owners. They are more mysterious than the American family but less ominous. Both parties seem equally unapproachable. The American waitress brings our stuff. I feel like I have seen her in a barbecue joint before or someone like her playing a waitress in a movie in a scene in a barbecue joint. Or perhaps it was a Cracker Barrel, but not in a movie or on TV.
When I realized the holidays were here, relentlessly slapping us in the face, it was already too late. I didn't quite grasp the magnitude of the end of the year. I didn't understand how fast it can all fall into your lap, look up crying and ask for more.
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