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Celebrating Thanksgiving – Chinese American Style!
A personal perspective

-Cynthia Marek Lundeen
 
 

Dear Readers,
  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, Cynthia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

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