Personally escort everyone to their seat at the table… check. Position myself closest to the mashed potatoes… check. Stare at Dad to influence him to start grace… check. Both hands in prayer position, deep breath, here he goes. YES! I AM SO HUNGRY! And 3, 2, 1.
“Lei, will you please start out with what you are thankful for this year?”
“Umm… I’m thankful for sweet potatoes.” Shit, I wasn’t ready.
There’s a moment every year at the Thanksgiving table, sometimes in front of a hot cousin’s friend, but usually under the watchful hawkeye of your father when it’s your turn to tell your whole family what you are thankful for and I hope you have a better answer than I usually do. If it’s not and you can’t think of more to say than sweet potatoes, then let me enlighten you. You’re not 5 anymore, nobody is laughing, and nobody thinks it’s cute. Even if you have time to tack on a “no, I mean I’m thankful for my family, yea for my family,” at the end you still look like an unappreciative ass. I mean, honestly, even Gracie Lou Freebush could come up with a more beauty queen answer than Sweet Potatoes.
It’s embarrassing, but only because it’s something that doesn’t happen often enough in our lives. Yes, I almost just replaced “in our lives” with “in society” and yes that is partly true, but it’s our personal responsibility to be appreciative of what we have in life and I know we don’t do it enough.
Once a week I drive to Chapman University for one of the best classes I have had in my four years at this school. It is under the graceful teaching of Dr. Rafael Luevano. The content and drive of the class is more than enough to get me to come back every week, but what really quiets my disdain for sitting through 45 minutes of traffic in my air-condition lacking Volvo every Wednesday is what happens at the end of the session. Rafael picks a class member’s name at random and says “go”. Individually we rattling off what we are thankful for. One by one, mind by brilliant mind, we recall the past week – or past day for those of us who truly can’t sift through the classes, meetings and projects past a day – and find one thing that we are thankful for. For some it is the same every week, for others it is rushed, but for me it is often the highlight of my week. Rafael is always the last to go and week after week he repeats the warm words:
“My name is Rafael and I am thankful for you.”
Who wouldn’t be excited to come to a class that does that every week? I don’t know, maybe my intake of cute cat pictures on The Ellen Show has made me a sap of late, but I sincerely appreciate this weekly gratitude recap and have decided to implement it into my site.
Today is Wednesday 15th October 2015, my name is Lei Hookano, and I am thankful for my 4 best friends. In alphabetical order their names are Beth Barnard, Emma Lidington, Maddy Strutner, and Renny Neibuhr. When I’m with them I feel like this:
even if we actually look like this:
They are all very weird and they are all my best friends. Let me tell you a little bit about them.
Beth falls into the small category of people who didn’t know what I was talking about when she read the top of this post. She is the most genuine person and I don’t really know how better to describe her. Her most recent Mother Theresa like behavior entails riding literally across the united states on her bicycle in a pack of other amazing human beings to build affordable housing across the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bike_and_Build . She is also a person who honestly and completely answers you when you ask her how her day is going and wants an honest and complete answer when she asks it of you. The post child of positivity, Beth is a gem and I am thankful to have her in my life.
Emma is like a sister to me, the person I’ve shared the most tears with, the one who’ll be there if I ever get my heart broken and for who I will always be there for too. I think she’s the contender for owner of the biggest brains out of our group – though none of us are dull tools in the shed, let me be clear – as she is studying Psycho Biology at UCLA and thinks deeply about death. That last part sounds like a joke and sometimes is joked about in our circle of friends, but is more of a testament to her ability to think intellectually about life and how we live it than anything else. As all of us, she will do amazing things with her life and help heaps of people even if she doesn’t realize it. I’m one of those people and I am thankful to have her in my life.
I try to strike absolutes from my everyday vocabulary, but I can honestly say that there has never been a time when I didn’t laugh around Maddy Anne Strutner. No joke, I took a sip of my tea in pondering what to write after that last sentence and almost spit it out in recalling some of the times I’ve spent with her. She is so effortlessly witty and originally funny, but beyond that she has a lust for fun, activity and living that inspires me to be a better person even when she isn’t around. She never forgets a birthday and seems to jump into my life when I need it most. She is loved by all and bothered by little and I am thankful to have her in my life.
I’ve known Renny for the longest, but still know the least about her. This isn’t because she is guarded or has anything to hide. It is because she is SO versatile and ready for almost anything that she continues to surprise me even when I think I know what she is going to do. As the other three gems of my friends she is an ABSOLUTEL diamond in our rough society that we live in. And while many boys pine after her, only the right man will be apt enough to find common ground with and be a good enough partner to her. Renny raises the bar for women everywhere and I am thankful to have her in my life.
I got to speak to them today and it truly brought me around to a better place – a place away from this little funk that I’ve been in lately. They each fill an emotional need I have as I continue to grow up and “find myself” and they each have a place in my heart. They make up the members of the Faux Punk Possy group chat on my phone, and even more, make up the members of 4 friends from high school that I hope always stay with me. They are my girls and I am thankful they are in my life.