It is Thanksgiving here in the US and while intellectually I knew it was a big thing, you really have to be here to grasp just how significant it is. A combination of it being the major time for families to get together and the pivotal consumer moment of the year make it seem much larger than Christmas does in the UK or Australia.
In theory Thanksgiving is about the first settlers in Massachusetts celebrating surviving thanks to the Indians’ help. The reality is somewhat more muddy than that – being a combination of harvest festivals with a much longer history than the Massachusetts settlers. At some point the rhetoric overtakes the reality anyway, so it’s now clearly celebrated for what it is thought to be. (At this point I’m going to forcefully restrain myself from writing a couple of thousand words on US politics and the triumph of rhetoric over reality. Go me.)
We spent a quiet Thanksgiving Day. Our poor children even had to do schoolwork, including a deeply frustrating final exam for Callum. Then, in the afternoon, we visited Alamo Park; our local green space, only a block away from our house. It’s quite famous in San Francisco as it is bordered by a row of painted ladies houses which if you get the angle right you can put in the same photo as the Transamerica Pyramid.
We had a bit of fun in the playground with the boys undertaking their own mini-Survivor challenges. Luckily there was a complete lack of a clear winner; but a lot of good, tiring exercise was achieved.
The Alamo Park is also home to the very unusual shoe garden. A little garden planted entirely in discarded shoes. Strange, but true.