It was not a hallucination. I swear when I first woke up this morning there was sun. I smiled, turned over, went back to sleep and missed it. By the time I woke up for good, it was gone; however, these familiar clouds have proverbial silver linings. On the weather last night we were fifteen degrees warmer than Boston and Southern New Hampshire. The weatherman said it was a combination of the warmer ocean and the cloud effect so I have stopped complaining about the lack of sunlight. I’ll just take more vitamin D than usual.
With Thanksgiving being an American holiday we still had to teach when I was in Ghana, but that didn’t stop us from honoring the day. We had a huge Thanksgiving dinner one year with several guests, one turkey, a few chickens, side dishes and pies. The owner of the turkey was a hard bargainer and Thomas, the cook, had to follow the man all the way to his village before he’d sell the turkey. When I was in Bolga last summer, I was amazed by the number of turkeys wandering around. In my two years living there I saw only that one which ended up being the showcase of our feast. The chickens you bought live, still do. You get to pick yours like we pick lobsters from the tank. The man hands you the chicken by its bound feet. I used to hang them from the arms of my moto (motorcycle) to get them home. Someone else always sent the chickens to their heavenly reward. I never could. The year of the giant feast we plucked the chickens. All of them, already having met their demise, were brought to us in a huge bucket. All of a sudden a few of them popped right out of the bucket onto the ground. No, they didn’t run around without their heads. They just popped. I knew scientifically why that had happened but it was still sort of amazing in its own weird way.
That was the year I made my very first pies ever, pawpaw pies. I made the dough, cut up the pawpaws and then added sugar and cinnamon. The cookbook Peace Corps had given us, Ghana Chop (chop being food), said that pawpaw pie would taste just like apple when you added the spices. I brought the two pies to the school’s beehive, clay oven. The cooks put them on the side of the oven away from the intense heat of the middle, but they still took only about 15 or 20 minutes to cook. They were delicious and they tasted exactly like apple pies.
That Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorites.