Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

digesting the holidays

I hope everyone had an enjoyable day off work, assuming you did have the day off work on Thursday. In the U.S., it was “Thanksgiving”, a holiday that makes me cringe.

Others have talked about the genocide that we are celebrating, I’ve talked a little about the turkeys who are killed, as well as the turkeys who are saved. I think most of that is all obvious stuff.

I dislike holidays, and that dislike grows more each year. Maybe I’m just not social enough to enjoy family gatherings. Whatever the reason, holidays are welcome only in that they are a day off work. The rest is simply something I need to expend energy to avoid, and thus is an annoyance.

This year, though, I took a five hour bus ride to visit a friend for a vegan feast. A vegan friend, and a motley crew of his vegan Food Not Bombs friends. We had faux turkey and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and stuffing, sweet potatoes, lasagne and a million types of cookies, and a few different pies. I’m probably missing something.

It was good and fun, and we didn’t have to pretend that we were okay with a carcass on the table. One of the guys there had been told by his family that it would be disrespectful if he brought a tofurkey to the family gathering, something that blows my mind even though I can’t honestly say it surprises me.

There is usually something relaxing about being among people who share certain baseline ethics, and this was no exception. As a group, we were mostly incredibly different from each other, held together by that invisible super-glue of shared veganism.

And apparently an obsession with cookies.

What I enjoyed the most about my “holiday” weekend was tramping along abandoned train tracks,

taking in the awe-inspiring graffiti building, five pointz

laughing and arguing and having thoughtful discussions with people. Meeting someone who is a provider for my heroes, the Rock Doves!

In other words, I would have had just as good a time, maybe even better, without the focus on food.

Except that I eat all the time now, so it isn’t like I could have gone without food altogether.

I always circle back around to this though, that if we were able to break the connection between food and socializing, I’d enjoy my non-vegan friends and family a hell of a lot more.

And at the same time, all those moments of eating surrounded by non-vegan food is exactly what puts the Thanksgiving With the Turkeys (and the 300+ vegan dishes at a giant community potluck) and the dinner with my friend Rich and his vegan friends in such stark amazing relief.

Holidays are conflicted times for most of us, I think. I would have been happy enough with my original plan – to go on a long, possibly overnight, bike tour. I definitely am even happier that I took that 5 hour bus ride to be social.

Abandoned train tracks and graffiti art seems like the perfect celebration after all.

the morning bean

the morning bean

3 responses to “digesting the holidays

  1. nothoney December 1, 2008 at 5:19 am

    We missed you on Saturday. I got there around 8:30 a.m. and Amy arrived not long after. It was after 9 a.m. before Terry told us you were out of town. It was cold in the morning but the sun came out and it was a gorgeous fall day.

    Terry told us about their Thanksgiving with VSDC and I told them about my annual visit with friends who are happy that I bring vegan dishes. Well, not all of them, there are two “anti-vegans” in the group and they sort of spoiled it for me this year. So next year, I’m going to join Terry and Dave at the VSDC dinner party and join my friends for dessert and wine later on. I’m envious of your T-Day with vegans, so next year that’s going to be my day, too.

    See you in a couple weeks.


  2. colin December 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I am already thinking of another bike tour for next Spring (and trying to finish the write-up for my last one at We could potentiially look into a something—not necessarily several days or more, though a journey all the same.

  3. Deb December 1, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    sheryl, bummer about the anti-vegans at your thanksgiving dinner. hopefully next year with the vsdc will be better for you!

    colin, I hope “thinking of” is the same as “starting to plan”! That would be great to go on a bike tour if you manage to get down here! I’ll have to catch up on your bike journal now. 🙂

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