Friday, November 26, 2004

This Thanksgiving, we celebrated a true multi cultural event with my Friend Jim and his Japanese wife, Yukiko; our German landlords, Doris and Gerd Shultz; our Irish friend Katie, her mother Maeve, brother Stephen and American boyfriend Carey.

My Thanksgiving toast.

We do this every year, it's the price you pay for having Thanksgiving in the Delaplane house. We go around the table and everyone has to say what they are thankful for over the past year. Some years this means more than others, and this is one of those years when it means a great deal. This has been a year during which it's been easier to focus on the things we wish for rather than the things we are thankful for. So, I would like to tell you some of things I am thankful for.

First, I am thankful for this full house. Fourteen months ago when we arrived in Germany, we knew no one, not a soul, and over the last year, each of you has opened not only your homes but your hearts to us. I am thankful to call each of you a friend.

I am thankful for the courage that I have seen my wife demonstrate, not only over this past year, but through some very difficult times over the past several years. I am thankful for the strength that she has shared with me in the face of the difficult times that lay ahead of us. I couldn't do it without her.

Lastly, I am thankful for the hope and faith the I see here at our table. We have four different countries represented here today. Sixty years ago, these four countries were evenly divided in a bitter conflict. The idea of each of us giving thanks and sharing a meal together would have been unthinkable. Sixty years ago our own country was so bitterly divided in it's own prejudice and bigotry that I would never have sat at the same table and shared a meal with Jim, this person that I am thankful today to call one of my very dear friends.

I am thankful for the faith that all of you give me in mankind; faith that good and decent people truly yearn for peace and friendship, regardless of our birthplace, the language we speak, or the color of our skin.

I am thankful for the hope that this gives me that each of our children and grand-children may not have to face the same challenges that we do now.

So, I would like to raise my glass and say to each of you: Prost, Kum Pai, Slainte, and Cheers.

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