November 19, 2007


My gorgeous amazing Chilean-born friend and former neighbor in Atlanta is a five-year survivor of ovarian cancer. Today, at age 72, she updates me (from across town) in her signature Spanglish, which I adore —
I have been worry about my healt. My last test show somethink that could be serious, so I will have to get another one (Pet CT) in a few weeks more, until then I am not going to be sure if I have metastasis and probably a new treatment. I am very concern and nervous. I miss you, I love you. HAPPY THANKSGIVEN.

Curiously, my friend's misspelled valediction bears a profound message: THANKSGIVEN. Or, giving thanks for what has already been given.

Just days before this most glorious of American holiday traditions — giving thanks in a national, coordinated way across the ridiculous artificial divides we humans create, I celebrate my friend and her attitude of gratitude. And, I celebrate all life by giving thanks for all that has been given. (Celebrating this all business, admittedly, can be mighty challenging, often requiring a perspective informed by a few dozen millennia...).

So, what are you THANKSGIVEN for?

I am humbly thanksgiven for security guards... who save lives (while often sacrificing their own). Here's why.

On Thanksgiving Day, we fourteen celebrants around Janet's and Brian's table took turns sharing memories of Thanksgivings past. My memory was of last year, in Tel Aviv, where, days before Thanksgiving, our hostess rode the train (choo-choo, not subway) to a farm where she purchased a freshly killed turkey. She then boarded the train back to Tel Aviv, though not before security guards (not only at airports in Israel...) demanded to know, why the bird?

It is not beyond imagination that a twisted mind would seek to detonate a bomb-stuffed turkey, blowing up self, bird, train passengers, and more. A non-cheery thought, especially on Thanksgiving, though we guests found the security check report entertaining. Where death, really annihilation, is a constant threat, you develop a taste for gallows humor and find laughter value in turkeys questioned at the border between a railroad station and just steps before entering it.


BronzeBuckaroo said...

Happy Thanksgiving.

This human divide is but a small bump in the road to a fuller understanding and acceptance of one another's differences and humanity. It will get better so long as there are folks like you out there willing to stand up and make a difference.

My heart and my admiration goes out to your friend.

john montgomery said...

As I was going through some of my papers filed neatly in one of the three stacks that are by the window in my study, I found this wonderful article sent to me by a friend several years ago. It was first published in Food & Wine. The author is a free lance journalist living and working in New York. You can find her website at

Hold The Turkey!

You have my wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tamar's note: John's original comment included the article, which is wonderful and probably more easily read online at the author's web site. Thanks to you, John, for the holiday link and warm wishes.

littlepurplecow said...

I am so thankful for our friendship - for your perspective, your ideas, your questions and your open heart.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post update, it’s so important. Many times I find myself looking at the security guards interaction with the many people entering or leaving a place (a coffee house, a mall. They’re everywhere here in Israel). It seems as if they’ve become part of the gate. People don’t even look them at the eyes; they just open their bags or whatever, while talking on their cellphone/ talking to a friend/ gazing somewhere else. But so many times when a terrible thing did happen, the security guard was the one that was killed, many times saving the lives of those inside.
So I want to thank them, Tamar, and to thank YOU as well for thinking of them.