This year was my 10th Thanksgiving. Yes, it’s the Scottish girl again with an outsiders perspective but I feel I might not be fully qualified for this post. You see, the problem is that ALL of my Thanksgiving experiences have been here on Martha’s Vineyard and from what I can tell from friends in the ‘real world’ and all the crazy talk on TV, Thanksgiving on Martha’s Vineyard, like everything else about this Island, is quite unique.
Yes, the lines in the grocery store are huge on Wednesday, but then I can always go toMorning Glory Farm for my veggies and a yummy fresh baked pie. Yes, many flee to destinations far and wide to spend the holiday with loved ones and many also arrive to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones on the Island but there are no 4 hour back ups on our highways – that would take every car on the Island on State Road all at once! Yes, there are sale signs in the stores, but there will be no “Doorbuster Specials” or lines outside stores at 4am to buy a cheap TV or the latest must have toy. It’s just different here.
The transient nature of many of our residents means that a lot of folks cannot be with their families for the holiday and so this is where our ‘Island Family’ kicks into high gear. Let’s face it – there’s no Thanksgiving where I come from, so I’m not heading home for the holiday. Also, my hubby and I almost always work at least part of Thanksgiving Day helping others enjoy their holiday but every year we are invited to at least 5 homes to share the holiday with our Island loved ones. There is always an extra place at the table, delicious food to be shared and many laughs to be had along the way. Now I know what you are all thinking, “That’s not so unusual Joanne – we do the same with our friends here!”. But how many of you can come home from a long day of serving up turkey and the trimmings to hundreds of hungry guests, feet throbbing and tummy growling, to a cooler on your doorstep, left anonymously with a “Happy Thanksgiving – Enjoy!” note, packed with yummy leftovers ready to be made into that long awaited leftover sandwich?! It was like a secret Santa but for Thanksgiving! Now, I know the next thought in your head, “Really? You ate food someone left for you on your doorstep and you don’t know who left it???” and that’s the unique part – we didn’t think twice about that – some lovely friend (we’re still not sure who and this was a few years ago), was sweet enough to think of us and deliver a feast, complete with dessert, to make our day a little brighter!
Living on Martha’s Vineyard has taught me to lead a simpler, more honest and more trusting life. I don’t need to shop til I drop. I don’t need to buy things just because I got a deal. I don’t pour money into the big box store machines. I buy almost everything I need right here, in locally owned and operated stores. I get my shoes at Brickmans or Petunias, I get my clothes at Basics or the Green Room, I buy home goods, not at Home Goods, but at Le Roux, Bowl and Board, or one of the other amazing boutiques here. Yes it costs a little more sometimes but it helps my friends and neighbors maintain a life here, just like my friends helped me by delivering yummy treats to a hungry worker. I’ve learned to appreciate the simple stuff that many are missing in the ‘real world’ as they sit in traffic, waiting to get a parking spot at the mall.
I am truly thankful that I landed on Martha’s Vineyard and made it my home. We are all lucky to be able to experience this little slice of heaven, whether you are here for a few days, a few weeks or a lifetime – there’s no place like it! What makes you thankful to be on Martha’s Vineyard?
Photo Credit: Petersbar