TBT - (1983) "A Thanksgiving Day Story"

Every Thanksgiving Day is special - but some are more memorable then others.

Back in the early '80's I was splitting my work between Guatemala, Florida, and Puerto Rico. It was a very busy time - but like any constructive endeavor where much is being accomplished, it was as rewarding as it was enjoyable.

During this period I had a special friend in Puerto Rico and we put together a plan to go to Isla Culebra during Thanksgiving week. Isla Culebra is a small island just east of the main island of Puerto Rico. A place where the U.S. military used to do maneuvers, bombing practice, etc. There was very little there, a small hotel near the docks and a small restaurant near the little airport served the island's few visitors.

At some distance away from the village we camped out on a beautiful white sand beach under the coconut palms - we had the whole area all to ourselves. After several days of fun snorkeling in the gin clear waters we struck camp and hiked into the little island village to get a room, a shower, and a Thanksgiving Day meal!

I t was 7PM by the time we reached the island's only little restaurant and when we got to the door we were looking at a "Closed" sign! We could not believe it! For weeks we had been looking forward to this special diner on this romanic little island.

Peeking through an open part of the window curtain on the door I could see people stacking chairs on tables and sweeping the floor. With nothing to lose I rapped on the door and it promptly opened. The gentleman at the door said he was sorry, but they had just closed for the day - then he took a long look at our very disappointed faces, made a big smile, and said: "Come on in - it is Thanksgiving!".

Down came the chairs off the center table and the place was alive with movement as the family that owned and ran the place scurried about, in and out of the kitchen, to lay in front of us as great a Thanksgiving feast as I have ever had.

After we had finished this grand meal - I asked our host how much money we owed. Most of the family by this time had already gone back to work cleaning up the place. With another big smile - the gentleman that allowed us into the restaurant and set everything in motion said: "You owe nothing for the meal. We are just happy to know you enjoyed the food - and we had enough to share with you!". And with that the whole restaurant family gathered around my friend and I to wish us well and to say good night.

Puerto Rico. Gracious people - beautiful island - fabulous memories.

May all of you have a great Thanksgiving - and great Thanksgiving Day memories too!