Every family has that one "different" person, the one that makes you wonder if this was the one that went home with the wrong family from the hospital. If you follow my blog posts and Facebook Fan Pages, it should come as no surprise to you that I am "that one" in my family. The fact that I look exactly like my parents also cancels out the idea of having gone home with the wrong family but, honestly, for most of my life I swear I thought it was true.
For example, I was the only one with imaginary friends that I kept up a running conversation with regardless of where we were, even in the grocery store. I was the only one who, at the age of six, saw nothing wrong with lecturing our parish priest on how the idea of babies being born into original sin was just plain wrong. I was the first one in my family to go all rock and roll, complete with Beatle haircut and black wardrobe (my father was constantly asking me who died). I marched in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the ERA and embarrassed my mother when, at the age of 35, having gone back to college to get my degree, I picketed the luncheon on campus for the college trustees and alumni to get them to divest their investments out of South Africa when Nelson Mandela was in prison. Yeah, so, I'm definitely that "one" in my family.
Now, at the age of 66, you'd think I'd have calmed down a bit. Wrong! I still support causes and speak out openly against injustices. I live my life by my own set of beliefs, and if that makes some folks uncomfortable, or wondering if I'm entirely sane, that's their issue, not mine. Which brings me to Thanksgiving ... in particular, how does one celebrate this holiday when one is vegan?
Going vegan was a choice of conscience. I won't go into gory details here. All you have to do is go on Netflix or YouTube and watch some of the documentaries. In fact, FMTV (Food Matters TV) has been running a free week of just such videos. In any case, that's where I put a great deal of my support right now, on issues of animal rights and animal cruelty. I don't expect everyone in my family to hop on my bandwagon, nor do I expect them to go out of their way to accommodate me at family gatherings. My youngest daughter, however, is doing just that for me this year. She got me a Tofurky (vegan non-meant turkey roast) all my own. She is also making a separate stuffing in addition to the family recipe my mother passed down for sausage stuffing. She is making sure there are plenty of appetizers that don't contain cheese, and my oldest granddaughter is making crab dip with fake crab ... all just for me.
So this year I am extra, extra thankful for all that I have. I live in a country where it is okay to be the odd one in the family because we odd ones are the ones that move the world forward out of the darkness. I am thankful for the opportunity to show my love and support for all living things. I am thankful for family and friends who support me and go out of their way to help me be me. Most of all, this year I am thankful for the folks who make Tofurky for giving me my very own, special Thanksgiving! You are helping save the planet and making a whole lot of people happy at the same time!
If you know someone who is the odd one in your family, or, if that person is you, then give them or yourself a great, big pat on the back and give thanks for a world that produces such gems. Just remember: when things get dark, we're the ones that become the spark!
Happy Thanksgiving. And so it is.