Armitage thanks

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that are troublesome for historians. I’ve always been a melancholy sort, but the study of history is in general not designed to cheer one up. Never fear, though, this post has a happy ending.

Honestly, among the holidays I celebrate or remember, it’s  probably my favorite personally. I like it way better than Fourth of July and at least as much as Passover, though this involves comparing apples to oranges, and the only Christian celebration that came anywhere close in my heart is the first Sunday in Advent. (Which is right around the corner, too.) The women in my family went to church on Thanksgiving morning, where my grandparents’ generation sang Now Thank We All Our God and in our generation we sang We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing, or its twin, We Praise Thee O God, Our Redeemer, Creator (which is a borrowing from the Dutch and might in fact have been sung by the inhabitants of the Plymouth colony) or Come Ye Thankful People Come. The men were out hunting deer. Sometime in the late morning we drove out to my paternal grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner, singing this song in the car, which we found especially appropriate because we did have to cross a river to get there and they lived in the middle of the woods. The smell as one walked into the porch of that house — a combination of cooking, cold, and the odor from the wood-burning stove — is the only sense memory I have that ever appears in my dreams. Six or seven hours later then we drove out to my maternal grandparents’ house, about five miles away, for a second Thanksgiving meal with my other set of cousins. Ooomph. It was one of the days on which we ate the sweet corn we managed to freeze in August, and oh was it sweet. I could write a long piece about this, and maybe I will sometime, though American memories of Thanksgiving are easy to find.

Though we love it, Thanksgiving is not a clean holiday.

Historically, its origins — not surprisingly — are not especially well documented. The Plymouth Rock colony did celebrate a day of Thanksgiving, and one of a very few primary sources that discuss this event does suggest the presence of Wampanoags at the event. Some elements of the story we learned as children about the Pilgrim – Indian love fest may not be entirely wrong. At the same time its romanticization hides the fact that the encounter between Europeans and Native Americans was on the whole disastrous for Native Americans, and whatever the events of the actual first Thanksgiving Day, the myth of Thanksgiving has often been used to hide or minimize the destruction of that exchange, or alternately to imply that it happened so long ago that we no longer need to be concerned about its consequences. November is Native American Heritage month, and our fellow Armitage blogger Avalon has posted recently about her own family’s history as Cherokee who walked the Trail of Tears.

Of course, most of us now think neither about the Pilgrims and Indians or the Day of Thanksgiving, but about the food.  The campus newspaper at my university  interviewed a series of immigrant students in this morning’s edition to find out what they were doing for Thanksgiving and most were cooking turkey because they felt it was de rigueur but had no idea of the actual significance of the holiday. On a culinary level I think of it as that day to eat foods of American origin, and when I lived in Germany, where I made extreme efforts to celebrate the holiday correctly, the question was always how I was going to put my hands on some cranberries. Servetus herself will be joining a group of friends for a potluck event in which every participant is supposed to bring the side dish which most symbolizes Thanksgiving to him or her. (Servetus thinks that this is mostly a way to resolve the contentious debate between partisans of different kinds of dressings for the turkey — incidentally, Servetus prefers bread stuffing with giblets, sausage, and sage — and thus avoid internecine warfare.) Since the person with whom I associate the dish that most exemplifies the holiday for me is dead, and baking it  — hickory nut pie — always makes me sad, not to mention that I have no idea where I’d get hickory nuts since the only place I ever ate them as a child was at my grandparents’ house, where the floor of the spare bedroom was always covered with nuts in various stages of drying, I am bringing a cheese plate instead.

Laying aside the problematic history of the holiday and the questionable priority for heavily carbohydrate-laden food as the thing that brings us all together, one aspect of the holiday I can get behind easily is the idea of giving thanks. In my family we go around the table after grace and talk about the things that we are most thankful for since we all saw each other the last time. Even in terrible years we can all think of something. If I were put on the spot, I suppose, I’d admit being thankful that the circumstances of my life, if at times unhappy, will nonetheless lead me to significant changes in the relatively short term. And although it sounds melodramatic, I’d also say a silent prayer of thanks that both my parents survived this year.

For you, readers, celebrating the holiday or not, I offer the video below. It started off as a project to observe how Mr. Armitage says the word “thanks,” as it’s on a list of words he says that I find particularly alluring. At this point it’s just a collection of clips and I make no claim to having captured every instance of this word in his speech. It’s also limited to his roles; I didn’t go through any interviews for these items: roughly seven minutes of utterances of the words “thank,” “thanks,” and “thank you” from the mouth of the great thespian. It seems appropriate, since I’m also thankful for the discovery of Richard Armitage this year, and thankful for the hard work he puts in on his art, which has served me so well.

Feel free to comment on Mr. Armitage’s words of thanks, or on what you’re thankful for this year, or on where you stand on the debate about what kind of stuffing to put inside that ubiquitous turkey. Happy Thanksgiving, U.S. Americans and anyone else who is celebrating the holiday with us. It’s a good opportunity for me to remember, in the face of change and trouble, that my G-d’s mercy endures forever.

~ by Servetus on November 25, 2010.

52 Responses to “Armitage thanks”

  1. Have a Happy Thanksgiving holiday Servetus! Your stuffing recipe sounds just right! I love the clips of Richard saying “thanks”! Thank you for that!! 🙂

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  2. I’m with you, while the origins of Thanksgiving may be iffy, and as someone who, unlikely as it may seem from my appearance, is also part Cherokee and thinks the Native Americans very much got the raw end of the deal–I love Thanksgiving.

    Yesterday my co-workers and I gathered for lunch at midday–turkey and traditional southern cornbread dressing, not stuffing, folks, and giblet gravy (this I always pass on, just give me liberal amounts of cranberry sauce, please) from the local supermarket deli–with each of us bringing a side. Of course, there had to be sweet potatoes in some form (pie, in this case), and green bean casserole with those Durkees onions on top, corn casserole, pear salad, and more. Spouse made cheesecake with a chocolate brownie layer which was decadent.
    Guy would have heartily approved. We ate and talked and laughed together, our little Greenville Advocate family. And family is a big part of the day for most of us.

    It will just be the two of us today–after an exhausting three days for yours truly, the idea of Thanksgiving as a day of rest is enormously appealing–and will give me time to reflect on what I am truly thankful for:

    My husband, who is currently snoring to be the band a few inches away; still, he’s the nicest, sweetest snorer you could ever imagine. And he puts up with me, which is sometimes no mean feat.

    My sisters and extended family. The sweet memories of my parents and in-laws. My dear furry “children.” My job, even if it drives me crazy sometimes, and my co-workers (even if they tend to do the same sometimes).

    Richard Crispin Armitage and the world of his fandom. Thank you, Richard, for providing me with so many hours of entertainment and pleasure and wonder.
    And once again, I give thanks to John and Margaret for bringing such a beautiful human being into this world and doing a proper job of raising him.
    And I give thanks for Servetus and the other bloggers and online resources which celebrate and sing the wonders of Mr. Armitage.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I give thanks for you, too.

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    • I should have included my thanks for y’all in this post as well and didn’t. Really, the readers here are such a supportive, intelligent bunch!

      I totally sympathize with the desire for a small Thanksgiving. Somehow the alternative always seems to be “alone” or “ten or more.” Not a fan of either of those, really, although with twelve this year I actually had a good time.

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  3. Happy Thanksgiving, American friends!

    Servetus, your account of how you celebrated Thanksiving in the past sounds rather like how we used to celebrate Harvest Festivals in England as a child. It was/still is a time for family and friends to come together, to count your blessings and think of those less fortunate.

    I enjoyed how you managed to bring Leicester lad, Richard Armitage, into the most American of holidays by presenting a selection of thanks from his lips. Very original and yet appropriate!

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    • How kind, MillyMe. 🙂

      In honor of Mr. Armitage I also put a wedge of Red Leicester cheese on my cheese plate. It felt a little marginalized as an English cheese among French (Epoisses, Delice de Bourgougne, Brie de Meau Rouzaine) and American (domestic chevre, Humboldt Fog) options, so I also added a thin wedge of Double Gloucester so it wouldn’t feel too lonely and would have someone to talk to.

      For whatever reason, my family did not do a lot of thinking of the less fortunate on Thanksgiving although that is an American thing to do — our day for that was Christmas.

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  4. Happy Thanksgiving !!!
    Servetus, thank you for the wonderful ‘Thank you’ clips and also the thought provoking background of American Thanksgiving.
    I always combine your Thanksgiving to our “Erntedank” festivities. We just celebrate them a bit earlier in the year and not in such a great way. But I always thought those two festivities were once combined and only got separated by the different use of calendars and calendar reforms between England and main parts of the European continent during the time the first settlers left for America.
    For “Erntedank” I always liked the idea that it has its origins in Roman festivities and has also Celtic roots. Here it was the last big feast before winter rations were measured to guarantee the food would last till the next year’s crop.
    Have a wonderful, healthy and enjoyable day with friends, family and people who’s company you enjoy.

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    • Thanks, CDoart! If I remember correctly, the current dating for US Thanksgiving was set by Congress sometime in the 1940s following a tradition set during the US civil war. Given the growing season in most of NOrth American the third week of November is really a late “Erntedank”; the crops are long in by then, even in the most temperate regions.

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  5. Thanks for this servetus, I havent been able to view the video yet. However I had to laugh because “Armitage thanks” rhymes with / reminds me of Armitage Shanks, that well known purveyor of sanitaryware (at least in the UK) and the name that my dear OH has chosen to adopt when speaking with me about the aforementioned Mr A…the things I have to put up with…

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    • I often have a chuckle about that when using public toilets. Of course, we could have an “Armitage shanks” video as well since “shanks” is gang slang for “stabs”. I can think of a number of memorable stabbings carried out by Armitage characters from Peter MacDuff stabbing Macbeth in the kitchen to Lucas/John stabbing Vaughn on the park bench.

      Sorry, that has got nothing to do with Thanksgiving and being grateful but I am constantly grateful for so many things and thank God for his great love, mercy and provision for me and my family.

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    • I had no idea! LOL! Sorry you have to put up with this from your DH. 🙂

      I picked the title because of its ambiguous grammatical construction: either adjective-noun or subject-verb. I like stuff like that. I had started off with Armitage gives thanks but that wasn’t quite right — none of these characters are really Mr. Armitage, and many of them are not giving thanks 🙂

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  6. Happy Thanksgiving! I give thanks for the lovely people I’ve “met” through our mutual interest in the lovely Mr. Armitage. I give thanks (and a well done, Lord!) to God for gifting into existence a talented, good man who brings us such pleasure that we take time from very busy lives to write and talk about him and seek deeper meaning in art and life.

    I give thanks for the love of my life (it took me half my life to find him), my furry children,and my bff. Mostly I am grateful to God for an interesting life.
    Blessings to all! Now the cooking begins!

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  7. Happy Thanksgiving all who celebrate it! I’m watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade right now. That’s the way I’ve started my Thanksgivings from early childhood. My family came from another country to the US and Thanksgiving was a tradition we adopted when we made the US our home. We didn’t have a tradition of holiday dishes, so every holiday either my grandmother, my mother, or I would try out different recipes from the newspaper or cookbooks. My favorite Thanksgiving dish is sweet potato pie. For decades I used to buy it from a lady who sold her pies from her station wagon near my office. Then I changed jobs and never found her again. I’ve bought many pies since then, but hers were the best ever. No, I’ve never tried to make one myself 🙂
    Today I’m very grateful for Servetus and her marvelous blog and the enjoyment and insight I get from visiting here every day since I found you. I’m also grateful for all of you my fellow commenters and RA bloggers for an always lively, surprising, educational and fun discussion and for being so kind to me, a new kid on the block.
    This year I am most grateful for the amazing and beautiful Richard Crispin Armitage and the solace, catharsis, entertainment and fun I always find when looking at those lovely blue eyes on my TV or laptop screen. He is in my heart and I hope he is having a wonderful Thursday.

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    • Looks like we will also be giving thanks for The Rover:

      http://twitter.com/ETTtweet/status/8110924204347392#

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      • I saw this earlier and immediately considered robbing that bank again. I kid, I kid, but I would DEARLY love to be able to see the glorious Mr. A on stage in a sexy period romp. DEARLY.

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        • I’m starting my “RA Rover Savings Account” right this second 🙂

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          • Well, I need to lose weight anyway, so if I skip lunches . . . and sell some of this overflow from three houses . . . and he’s not got anything coming out on DVD I will be buying (Ha, PTB, if you think that trailer of special features for Spooks 9 is going to convince me to invest!) . . . oh, my, my. I really had given up on this idea of The Rover after The Hobbit plans were announced. Does the man ever rest??

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            • Apparently not! Bless our gorgeous workaholic.

              My thoughts exactly Angie- I can bring my own lunch to work rather than spend money eating out. Healthier too 🙂 😉

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              • I just signed up for the ETT’s mailing list. Never hurts to be prepared.

                Right now it’s cold and rainy and my arthritis and FMS are flared up, so I really need something pleasant to ponder . . . this works!!

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                • This thought really inspired me yesterday. Unfortunately in spring term I teach every day of the week, so the only time I could go would have to be spring break. I hope, I hope, I hope!

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        • ETT’s latest production just played Richmond Theatre so I’m hoping The Rover will do the same. I’m not sure when it will happen but I’m on The ETT mailing list now.

          The Rover is a strange play for a 21st century audience to warm to and Wilmore, the character Richard would play, has no redeeming features as far as I can see. I saw the RSC production in the late ’80s with Jeremy Irons in the role and spent the whole play waiting for Wilmore to do anything decent or admirable. Even Richard would be hard pressed to work a redemption arc into this play!

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          • Maybe that’s why he wants to play it–an out-and-out baddie? He does enjoy playing dark roles.
            Although in my dreams, I see him in something more light, “all about love,” with lots of wit and humor and a true romance that turns out right for his character, with RA paired with a good actress with whom he has actual chemistry. Is that too much to ask? Well, maybe after The Hobbit . . .

            At this point, I simply want very much to see him on stage, I don’t seem to care so much what the role is, to be honest. *blushes* I feel he will make the experience worthwhile.

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            • The character is not so much a baddie as totally amoral. The main male characters are dispossessed Cavalier soldiers in exile who have been hiring themselves out as mercenaries during the Commonwealth. Wilmore is a drunk who will shag (and I think that is an appropriate word) anything in a skirt that doesn’t get out of his way fast enough. He jeopardises his best friend’s happiness by his behaviour and inexplicably ends up with the female lead who believes by marrying someone as dissolute as Wilmore she is showing that she is no man’s chattel and can play him at his own game. Radical stuff in Restoration England from a woman writer at a time when female roles were first being played by women but now…

              It will be a bawdy romp and I’m sure there will be plenty of laughs, possibly some singing and dancing, some physical comedy perhaps as well.

              I think it shows that Richard wants to do work that stimulates him intellectually, is not so intense and gets him back on the stage. It won’t be highly paid and it is touring as well so maybe it is also a reaction to his impending stardom. I will go to see the play if it is possible and will probably enjoy it more than before by not having false expectations and oh yes, that tall bloke from Spooks is in it!

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              • I will do some more reading up as I always do–I agree, you should know what to expect, especially if you are anticipating flying from the US to see this . . . I always enjoy seeing just what he does with each character–all the details, cutting the character from whole cloth– and I am sure he does relish something really challenging to his brain, as well as a chance to use that considerable physicality of his.

                I have no problem with him playing an amoral character, BTW. I enjoyed his performance as John Mulligan, who was pretty dodgy, and as the wicked Robert Lovelace in the radio play. What I DON’T like is the horrible turn of events that occurred with the travesty known as Spooks 9. Don’t take a flawed but true hero and turn him into a baddie nutter, please.

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              • I agree with your point Pam. Maybe he wants to say that he’s not just interested in movie stardom, but he is interested in still doing things that challenge him as an actor, he still wants very much to do theater, and wants to keep all artistic options open, as well as stay loyal to his home audience on the eve of international attention. We all know doors will open for him after The Hobbit.

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                • Richard is such a versatile actor with so much going for him–the ultimate character actor blessed with a leading man’s face and body, with amazing physicality, striking screen presence and off-the-charts charisma/magnetism (and he can sing and dance, too!)–I feel as if the sky is the limit for him, really, whether it’s in film, television, the theatre, or audio books and voice-overs.

                  I do worry a bit about him wearing himself out with his busy work schedule, but he seems to feel this sense of urgency in taking advantage of these opportunities as they arise. And he keeps proving himself very worthy of attention again and again.

                  So much more than just a handsome face.

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                  • We, his loyal fans, know all about his versatility but does the rest of the world?

                    I guess he’s anxious not to be typecast in grim / intense action man roles (full height or not) once he’s in the glare of the headlights.

                    It must be exhausting for him at the moment, but he may see this as his last chance to establish his true range and breadth before the studio system zeroes in on him.

                    Impending stardom means he’s running out of time to play against type and round out his profile. But as ever he’s giving it all he’s got – and pitching it just right, I think, in terms of breaking back into the theatre. Prestigious but not presumptuous choices.

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                    • As I said, there does seem to be that sense of urgency, wanting to show off as much of his versatility in acting in a variety of roles and venues as he can.

                      I wouldn’t want him to be typecast either, because when and if he does, I suspect that’s when he’d start moving behind the camera. Not that I object to him being a director, too–I just want to be able to keep enjoying his performances onscreen. I’m selfish in that respect, I fear.

                      I think appearing in the 24 hour plays and then doing this are very smart career moves, indeed. He has a good head on those broad shoulders.

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                    • Well said, feefa. I really hope he succeeds in being the sort of artist he wants to be.

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                    • Depends on how he intends to use his stardom once it arrives. I hope this is not his last chance to play against type but the first of more versatile projects. With hopefully more doors open he may have other opportunists but the brooding action hero. Unless, of course, he intend to go for highest possible profile respectively Hollywood blockbusters only.

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              • One thing I’ve noticed while watching Spooks intensively this last year is that it doesn’t offer the actor much chance to sustain a performance. It’s a bit as if you asked a cellist to play just a few notes from the Bach Cello Suite and then stop — then cut to a different perspective on it — then cut back, etc. I gained more appreciation for what he is doing, insofar as he can sustain a mood throughout such a jarring sequence, but if I were he, I’d guess that just being able to be a character for a whole monologue would give him a feeling of much more artistry and control over his results. Just a thought.

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      • Oh, now that’s worth popping on over to the UK. Like I actually need a reason for a quick visit. 😉

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      • That is really something to be thankful for!

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    • When I was in college one year I spent with a Korean-American family and one with a Mexican American family, and in both cases we had the traditional (southern) Thanksgiving meal. I thought I was going to get some family favorites from those cultures, but it really seems to be a holiday where people did as your family did, Musa, picking up the “U.S.” culture.

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  8. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it. I give thanks for all my internet friends I have met through watching the work of Richard Armitage and who have been such a wonderful support to me over the past few weeks. Your online friendship means so much to me. I also give thanks for Richard Armitage who through his work, provides us with so much enjoyment and entertainment. I’m still so happy he has a part in The Hobbit and that I discovered his work so many years ago in the Vicar of Dibley.

    Thank you Servitus for the terrific video clip of thanks! 🙂

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  9. All the thanks, loved to re-watch those Guy clips and surprised by myself, I felt nostalgic for ‘our’ Lucas, especially with Elizabeta…

    OML 🙂

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  10. Thanks for the link.

    My family celebrates with a feast of traditional southern foods and traditional native cuisine and by giving thanks to God for all that we have and our health. Black Friday (the day after) we shop till we drop:)

    I was raised to view Thanksgiving as the brief moment of peace in 500 years of war and hatred. For us, it was a time of peace, and we honor this. I think had peace been honored and compromise met during the years that followed, this continent would be a beautiful, blessed land.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you. I am delighted you mentioned Native American Heritage Month and included American Indians in your Thanksgiving post; sadly, there are many who did not do this and forgot what this holiday is really about.

    I am glad you have much to be thankful for and that your parents are fine. I almost lost my mother this year and I know how you feel.

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    • One thing this year underlined for me is that one often doesn’t realize what one should be grateful for until one has lost (or almost lost) it.

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  11. Thanks for this wonderful collection of clips of Armitage thanks! No connotation on my part! I was particularly melancholic on thanksgiving this year your vid was my highlight!

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  12. […] that I love how Mr. Armitage pronounces certain words. “Thank” is one of them, which I discussed here (and if you’d rather just go to the assemblage of clips, it’s […]

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  13. […] Last Thanksgiving’s post, with my feeling about the meaning of the holiday. […]

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  14. […] about my traditional Armitage Thanksgiving vid. The first one, “Armitage thanks,” is here, along with some comments on what this holiday means to me. The second, a sort of tongue-in-cheek take on the ubiquitous song, “Simple Gifts,” is […]

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  15. […] conversation about how memorable my mother’s were and my appetite evaporated. Looking back at my attempts to comment on the holiday’s meaning to me, it strikes me that I’ve been so regularly giving thanks for my parents’ survival. […]

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  16. […] years: 2010 (how I spent Thanksgiving as a child, and my simultaneous love and discomfort for this most […]

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  17. […] Posts from previous Thanksgivings are here: 2014 (includes the Armitage Thanksgiving vids), 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010. […]

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