Thanksgiving 2013 – The Ghouse family

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My son’s birthday falls around thanksgiving, to be precise; Nov 26.

For about 14 years I organized a big event called Thanksgiving
Celebrations and Awards Night – about 500 people attended the first one,
and we had mayors, congress persons and other including members of
different communities joined in for the celebrations.

learned a lot in the process. One of the senior citizens Mr. Shah from
the Jain tradition taught me a big lesson, thanks to him. He called on
me – being an Indian, it is very cultural and acceptable to me – he said
what did your father teach you? don’t you know how to separate the food
for vegetarians? From that day forward, I have been super sensitive to
the needs of my multifaith and multicultural friends about Kosher,
Halal and Vegetarian needs. Indeed, my father taught me to respect every

It all started when I discovered that many a immigrants
had no idea what thanksgiving was all about. The event was organized to
familiarize immigrants with the festivities of thanksgiving. It was a
full program starting with gratitude to Native Americans and then
carving the Turkey on the stage and have the same fixings…followed by
recognizing individuals who have gone beyond their way to build bridges.
– The Jewish community, the African communities were appreciated for
their contributions towards making America a better pluralistic nation.

The highlight of the program was – 5 Cultural dances to reflect
cultural pluralism. We always started it with a Native American dance
and prayer to the four corners followed by 4 different cultural dance
each time… Czech to Filipino, Belly dancing to Taiwanese, Brazilians
display of colors the Mexican, Indian Bhangra to polka dances….

Finally, I yielded to my son to spend exclusive time with family on
thanksgiving. I am glad I listened to him… it is good to be with the
family… This is my son’s family – wife, her sister and friend, her
parents, Jeff’s mom, sister and Dad… and of course Jayden, the little
rascal in the family! In my case, at this time, I have to split my
holidays – Thanksgiving lunch with Jeff’s family in Dallas, and then
Thanksgiving Dinner with Yasmeen in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Mike Ghouse

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