Although I could not be celebrating with loved ones back home, my thanksgiving weekend included some rare gifts of community and experience. I felt blessedly “welcomed” at the McMurdo Thanksgiving dinner – it felt like a church picnic – only with gourmet food!

There were a lot of mouths to feed, so the dinner was held in shifts — with a special dinner for the folks who work the night shift, so they could celebrate together as well. It was an orderly (lines) and old-fashioned sort of feasting event with familiar faces in every direction. Everyone was in a terrific mood! Folks brought their own bottles of wine for the tables — a lucky few even had stemware. Most of us drank our antarctic toasts to “the place” and “each other” from plastic cafeteria cups decorated with penguins.

One young man, after a few glasses of wine, dinged silverware against his plate and got the whole room hushed — we all said it felt like a wedding reception — then he offered a heartfelt rambling toast about thankfulness which ended with a round of applause for the kitchen staff (the first of several official kudos they received).

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