No Pumpkin Pie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     “Pumpkin pie or New York City?” That was the grueling question rolling through my mind on a May afternoon. Yes, thinking almost seven months ahead, I was contemplating not being present at the traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the second year in a row. There was really no doubt what my choice would be - I had my heart, soul and mind set on dancing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But what did it really matter, anyway? All Thanksgiving meant to me was eating a big dinner with my family and waiting in great anticipation for that homemade, oh, so delectable pumpkin pie!

“Are you sure you want to go? It’ll be your second year missing out on Thanksgiving dinner!” my mother asked.

“Yes, Mom! I’m not going to give up the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be in this famous New York City parade! Who knows, this might be my big debut into the life of a starlet!” I was sure that I would be fine with being elsewhere on this particular holiday.

Finally, the day arrived to leave my beloved home and venture to the Big Apple for an entire week. I felt as though I were rushed into an enormous cauldron of emotions. One moment I was nervous, the next I was ecstatic, and the next I was already homesick. At one point, it even felt like there were innumerable creatures plaguing the inside of my stomach. But, nevertheless, I boarded the train with high hopes and wild dreams.

We practiced long, hard hours all week until every arm, every prop, every smile was in its proper place. Mixed in with all the hard work were bursts of the excitement, drama and artistic thrills that were New York City. Without a doubt, this would be a trip to remember. I had forgotten all about home and what I was missing.

At the crack of dawn that special Thursday, we began to get ready for our long, but much longed for performance. The sunlight streamed through Columbus Circle, down 42nd Street and focused on that scarlet star on 34th in front of Macy’s. It was a glorious day! We all boarded the subway and headed for the official starting point. Suddenly, as I watched the fluorescent lights flash in the abyss out the subway window, a strange feeling came over me. Something was missing. That’s when I suddenly realized what Thanksgiving’s really all about. It wasn’t the warm, steamy feast on the table. It wasn’t that tasty pumpkin pie with the light, flaky crust. It had nothing to do with what was on the table, but what surrounded it - family. I missed being with my family. I missed the love and true thankfulness that filled the room. I missed my pumpkin pie!

Although we had the time of our lives that day, met thousands of people to add to our “family” and Matt Lauer personally wished me a happy Thanksgiving, it just wasn’t the same. It was evident in everyone’s eyes that we missed our homes. And so, that night, while eating a Thanksgiving slice of pizza, I put my new knowledge of Thanksgiving to use and thanked God for the love I was given, for the wonderful memories we shared as a family in New York City that day and at home, and vowed that maybe next year, I would be blessed to partake in this traditional custom of American culture once again, with my pumpkin pie.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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