Well, we don’t have Thanksgiving in Panama, officially that is.
But except for expats, there’s no formal Thanksgiving in Panama. However, if you inquire with anyone about their health, happiness, whatever, they will usually end their reply with “Gracia por Dios!” Yes it’s a tradition, but just like many people pray before they eat, or cross themselves as the plane hurtles down the runway, it is a tradition that acknowledges the goodness and sovereignty of the Almighty.
The “Holiday Season” is already in full swing, having started with the month of November, a month filled with patriotic holidays and parades. It begins with Independence from Columbia (November 3) and starts abruptly with bugles blaring in most towns announcing freedom. Then comes the big one, Independence from Spain (November 28) when bands from all over the nation all descend on little Boquete for a parade that lasts from around 9 am to 10 pm. TWO Independence days is a pretty cool idea: smart folks these Panamanians. One of the biggest holiday of the year is Mother’s Day on the first Sunday of December … basically a family time. Then Christmas with all of it’s fireworks (big tradition here as the sky explodes on Christmas Eve!). From Christmas to New Years nothing happens. In January Boquete has its Fair of Coffee and Flowers when it’s party time for two weeks. Then comes Carnival and more partying! Forty days later is Holy Week when many businesses are closed and nothing happens. Good Friday is a legal holiday, then Easter. So from November until after Easter it’s hard to get much accomplished.
But today is the traditional US Thanksgiving . . . so what am I thankful for?
- A wife who is partner, companion and friend and who has put up with me and all the BS all these years
- Two great kids, Noelle lland Rebecca, who I enjoy as adults and are more than I ever hoped for and a great son-in-law, George Eaton (our kid choose well)
- Rian Patrick Eaton and Caiden Riley Eaton, my two fantastic grandsons
- Two young friends, brothers who kind of adopted us when they were teens and who, despite a shaky adolescence, turned out to be two remarkable men of whom I am proud. One was lost in a tragic accident, but Renato Dean remains a good friend.
- Friends, new and old
- The opportunity to be living in paradise, having fun, exploring the world, growing and enjoying the journey
- The chance to spend much of my time cruising cruise the world on luxurious cruise ships, meeting fantastic people, and working with mostly younger crew members from as many as 35 different countries
- A beautiful life in Panama
- A Christian world and life view that helps the world make sense, believing that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives, and that it’s a plan for our good
- A Hebrew cosmic view that believes in spite of all the injustice that in the end justice will triumph
That’s a lot to be thankful for!
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16