What a wonderful joy and privilege it was to spend Thanksgiving with Pu
Ying, Publisher of the Erie Chinese Journal, her family, close
friends, and other members of the Erie Chinese Journal.
While historians debate the exact origins of the Thanksgiving
Holiday in the U.S., what does appear clear is that in many part of
the world people have set aside time to reflect and give thanks for
a bountiful harvest and the special bond they share with people and
all of Nature.
In the warm, welcoming atmosphere which is always felt when in Pu
Ying’s presence, I reflected upon the munificence of traditional
Chinese and American comestibles arranged so artistically on serving
ware of both Asian and Western design. I considered how very
fortunate we are today, for before modern farming methods, drought
and pestilence has brought deprivation throughout place and time
around the globe.
I also marveled at the experience of being in the company of my
fellow humankind, many originally from half a world away, knowing
that for most of human history people living in differing
hemispheres were not even aware of each other’s existence.
I am especially thankful for the lessons in our common humanity and
love of beauty which were on display that day. When both Pu Ying and
a guest, Jin Cao, showed me jewelry that had been made with ancient
Chinese coins I was immediately reminded of another lady, Cherie
Shechter, who on a visit to Italy had a ring made from an ancient
Roman coin. Jin Cao also showed me images of jewelry she designs
with pieces of broken Chinese porcelain. Amazingly, I was wearing a
ring made with a bit of broken Western porcelain! While the cultures
are different, there are so many parallels including an appreciation
for the past, the incorporation of something old to create something
new and an affinity for art which makes our spirits soar.
As Thanksgiving took place so soon after the election season in the
U.S. with its many controversies, I reflected on other matters as
well. While some have claimed interference by Russia, I must admit
that when I think of Russia, I think of one of my favorite
composers, Rachmaninoff, who himself was once
inspired by an Italian composer, resulting in the sublime Rhapsody
on a Theme from Paganini. I thought of the way in which differing
cultures both create from their own visions as well as inspiration
from each other. With so much discord in the world, I considered how
discord seems to create more discord, and art seems to create and
inspire more art.
I wondered how we might minimize discord and promote our more
creative spirits, as the world certainly needs more harmony
posthaste. Then I remembered one of the many reasons I am thankful
for the friendship of Pu Ying. I think we must enlist her aid in the
endeavor, for those of you who know her will likely agree with me:
She moves at only one speed – which outpaces the speed of light!
Wishing you and yours happiness throughout the holidays and always,