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The royal treatment for an empty nester

Whatever happened to the overstuffed dinners at my home that demanded days of shopping, polishing and preparation? Where did the time go when the family was young, and we need not travel far to spend time with each other?

We are empty nesters. My flock flew south several winters ago and decided to stay put. We chose not to follow. Empty nests are exactly what they seem. True, I have a home office now and an abundance of drawer and closet space. But, make no mistake, an empty nest is empty. Therefore, we decided to take a cruise on an ocean liner to fill the void.

On the Queen Mary 2, sailing round-trip from New York, we met, as expected, many British citizens. Those we encountered stated their lack of comprehension of our American Thanksgiving. Most knew about the pursuit of religious freedom. Beyond that, they expressed confusion. "Is it like Christmas? Do we give gifts?" they asked. I explained that it is a family holiday and a day to give thanks. I discussed the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and the development of their friendship with Native Americans following a harsh winter.

As I ate my Thanksgiving dinner aboard the luxury liner, I reminded myself that it is a day to give thanks. Having someone else cook the turkey, have it served on fine china and then have it whisked away to the kitchen for the cleanup is reason to be grateful. Even the British Queen would give thanks to that.

--Sandra Friedman, East Meadow

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