Plenty reasons to be thankful
WAIMEA — Not all families celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in the same way, but the tradition of families getting together and being thankful for what we have is a universally honored value.
For a few island families, bringing relatives together for a beach gathering offered the same spirit as a home gathering for others. Sand, surf, tents, plastic bowls and ham in a crock pot proved a suitable substitute for an oven turkey, the dining room table and napping while the NFL game is on the television in the afternoon.
The Agan family celebrated Thanksgiving with a feast at Salt Pond Beach Park.
Gene Agan, of Kaumakani, said he and his family are about to move back to O‘ahu, and so this is a very special year as it might be a while before everyone is
together again. Now back at work after nearly a two-year layoff, Agan said he is grateful for work hard and providing this Thanksgiving feast.
“I am grateful for everything,” Agan said. “I am grateful for working especially.”
Members of the Agan family also celebrated Thanksgiving at Salt Pond. They set up tents and everyone brought something to add to a big, traditional meal.
It was especially pleasing to Florence Acain of Waimea. She is the family matriarch and was happy so many family members were present.
“I am grateful for the gathering of all the families to be able to spend Thanksgiving together,” Acain said. “They are all one happy family.”
Brian Martin was at Salt Pond Thursday and said he is grateful for his daughter Kaybree, who just turned 1 on Nov. 10. He said she keeps him busy and has changed his outlook on everything.
“There is nothing more,” Martin said. “She is my first child, and she has basically changed my life.”
Pray Suguitan, of ‘Ele‘ele, said there isn’t a similar holiday in the Philippines, and said he likes the idea of a day to appreciating the pilgrim’s celebration of perseverance, freedom from religious and political oppression.
“The Founding Fathers sprouted from them,” Suguitan said. “It should be more than shopping and having fun. Let’s not forget the spirit of Thanksgiving.”
Suguitan interpreted for his friend Jose Raymundo, of Hanapepe, who added that Thanksgiving is about family.
“I am grateful for the blessings of Thanksgiving,” Raymundo said.
Sixto Porres, Koloa, said he is grateful for life, for waking up every morning and for friends.
“That is what I am grateful for this year,” Porres said. “And, as always, for God.”
His friend, Gerry Petrella, of Po‘ipu, was pre-cooking a ham using a crock pot. They were bringing the ham to a friend’s home to celebrate.
Petrella said she is grateful for the County of Kaua‘i in providing the Lucy Wright Beach Park Pavilion in Waimea. It had power for her crock pot and a place to relax with others.
“I am grateful for all my friends and family, who I have been calling all morning, and for God,” Petrella said.
Visitors also found Kaua‘i a fascinating place to spend the holiday.
The Johnson family of Eau Claire, Wis., was vacationing here for a week. They specifically sought the peace and quiet of Kaua‘i.
“I am grateful for good health, family and friends,” said Mike Johnson. “We will give the rest of the relatives a call a little later on and wish them all a happy Thanksgiving.”
“I am thankful for dance,” said daughter Nicole Johnson, a dance teacher.
“I am thankful for the chance to experience so many of the difference dance styles here that we don’t have back in Eau Claire.”
Matthias Klemm, an exchange student from Bavaria, studying at University of the Pacific, said there isn’t a similar holiday in Germany and that he learned about it from his friends on O‘ahu. The third-year business and psychology student said he was hiking and camping around Kaua‘i for the holiday weekend.
“I am grateful to be here for one semester in this beautiful place,” Klemm said.