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感恩节这天,用不同的方式说感谢

更新时间:2016-11-27 10:33:21 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

One Holiday, and Countless Ways to Say Thanks
感恩节这天,用不同的方式说感谢

If you happen by Stacy Christopher’s home in Santa Barbara, Calif., early on Thanksgiving Day, you may think that her husband, her son and their guests chose an odd time for yard work. They rummage through the greenery. They cart away branches.

感恩节这一天,如果你碰巧一早来到斯泰茜·克里斯托弗(Stacy Christopher)位于加州圣巴巴拉的家附近,你可能会觉得她的丈夫、儿子和他们的客人选择了一个很奇怪的时间进行庭院劳动。他们会在绿色植物之间翻来翻去,并把树枝运走。

It’s no cleanup, though. It’s the first small step in a big show of gratitude.

但这不是大扫除。这是一场盛大的感恩活动的第一小步。

The branches go into a vase inside. Nearby are leaf-shaped pieces of paper in yellow, orange, red: the archetypal colors of the season if not the actual ones on the Southern California coast, where autumn isn’t such a fiery showboat. People write concise missives on the leaves, then affix them to the branches, and what Ms. Christopher calls the Thankful Tree takes blazing form. It claims the center of the table, a reminder of what this holiday is really about.

树枝会被插进屋里的花瓶里。旁边是一些树叶形状的纸,分黄色、橙色和红色:这个季节的典型颜色,尽管不是南加利福尼亚州沿海地区真正的颜色,这里的秋天没那么绚烂。人们会在这些树叶上写下一些感想,然后把它们粘到树枝上。克里斯托弗夫人口中的感恩树变得鲜艳起来。它占据了桌子的中心位置,提醒人们关注这个节日真正的意义。

“People will pick off the leaves and read them,” said Ms. Christopher, a chef and writer whose blog, Earth to Salt, celebrates the bounty of California. “That’s how we start our meal.”

“人们会摘下树叶看上面的东西,”克里斯托弗夫人说。“这是我们开始吃感恩节大餐的方式。”她是一名厨师、作家,她的博客Earth to Salt颂扬了加州的丰富出产。

There will be a thank-you for someone’s professional opportunity. A thank-you for someone else’s recovery from illness. A thank-you for the comfort of kin, not just on this day, but on the many days surrounding it.

有对某人获得的职业机遇的感谢,也有对另外某个人病愈的感谢,还有对亲情在不仅是这一天,还有前后很多天带来的慰藉的感谢。

And, possibly, a thank-you for this tradition itself. “It focuses us,” she told me, adding that her family needs that. “We’re kind of a rowdy group.”

而且可能还有对这项传统本身的感谢。“它把我们聚在了一起,”她对我说,并接着表示她的家人需要这种团聚。“我们有点像是一个闹哄哄的团体。”

I nodded and smiled. My family, too. And in her Thanksgiving, I recognized ours — and, really, everyone else’s, because while the rituals vary, the attachment to them doesn’t, and all of them follow the set of instructions spelled out bluntly in the holiday’s very name. They express gratitude. It turns out that there are infinite ways — succinct and expansive, subtle and fanciful — for turkey-minded Americans to do that.

我微笑着点了点头。我家也是。在她的感恩节活动中,我看到了我家的活动的影子,实际上还有其他所有人的感恩节的影子,因为尽管仪式各不相同,但附着在它们身上的意义并无不同,并且所有仪式所遵循的,都是这个节日的名字直接表述出来的那一套指示。它们都是用来表示感恩的。事实证明,美国人虽一心想着火鸡,但却有数不尽的感恩方式,有些简明,有些全面,有的低调,有的花样十足。

My relatives would never consider a Thankful Tree, for one simple, unimpeachable reason: It would take precious real estate on the table away from booze, condiments and other items integral to our gorging.

我的亲戚从来不会考虑制作一棵感恩树,原因只有一个,简单却又无可指摘:在摆放酒水、调味品和我们大快朵颐时不可或缺的其他物品的桌子上,它会占去宝贵的地方。

But we, too, insist on the moment of calm that Ms. Christopher described. Someone, usually my Uncle Jim, says a grace of greater length and intensity than the ones at other holidays. He speaks of God and gratitude, demonstrating that if we look at our lives through the right lens, we see blessings everywhere, and they outnumber obstacles.

但我们也坚持保留着克里斯托弗夫人所说的平静时刻。在我家,通常是我叔叔吉姆进行感恩发言,篇幅和热情程度均超过其他节日。他会说到上帝和感恩,向大家展示,如果我们正确地看待生活,就会发现幸运的事情无处不在,数量超过困难。

Gratitude is a feat of perspective. When I talked with other people recently about their ways and whys of giving thanks, I was most struck by how often their rituals arose from travails, not triumphs. Hardship was handmaiden to an examination of all that remained good, all that they should cling tight to.

感恩是一种非凡的角度。最近和其他人聊到他们表示感谢的方式和原因时,最让我惊讶的是,他们的仪式常常起源于艰辛的经历而不是重大的成就。艰辛有助于检验所有仍然美好的东西,所有他们应该紧紧抓住不放的品质。

Tim Shiley, a manufacturing-plant manager in Buffalo, mentioned a profound loss when I asked him about the origins of his family’s habit of making everyone at the Thanksgiving table talk about what he or she is grateful for. His parents, he said, both died before their 50th birthdays, and that has encouraged him, his siblings and his own children to huddle tight and not overlook — or take for granted — the importance of their solidarity.

蒂姆·希利(Tim Shiley)是布法罗一家制造厂的经理。他家的习惯是让坐在感恩节餐桌旁的所有人说说自己要感谢的人或事。当我询问这个习惯的起源时,希利提到了一个巨大的悲剧。他说他的父母去世时都不到50岁,但这也激励他,他的兄弟姐妹和他自己的孩子要紧紧地团结在一起,不要忽视他们团结一心的重要性,或是认为这是理所当然的。

“It’s not religious,” he said. “It’s about the bonding of family.”

“和宗教无关,”他说。“和家族情谊有关。”

Meg Cox, the author of “The Book of New Family Traditions,” told me about a family whose most cherished ritual pays homage to the perseverance of their ancestors, who made it through the Depression and the Dust Bowl on a diet of turnips from their parched land. Decades later, the dish at the center of the family’s Thanksgiving table is mashed turnips, though lavish with the butter that a more affluent generation can afford.

《新家庭传统之书》(The Book of New Family Traditions)的作者梅格·考克斯(Meg Cox)给我讲了一个故事,是关于一个家族的。这个家族最宝贵的仪式是向他们的先辈致敬。后者以干枯的土地上长出的萝卜为食,度过了大萧条和沙尘暴。几十年后,萝卜泥成了这个家族感恩节餐桌上的中心菜肴,不过是奢华版的,因为添加了更富裕的一代人才享用得起的黄油。

Those turnips, she noted, are more than a companion to turkey, stuffing and such. They’re thanks for the sacrifice and suffering that paved the way to better times.

她指出,那些萝卜不仅仅是火鸡、馅料等的陪衬。它们是对那些牺牲和苦难的感谢,它们铺平了那条通往更好的时代的道路。

The commingling of generations is central to Matthew Gertzog’s Thanksgiving, one detail of which especially amuses him. Every year, his father, Sonny, surveys his grandchildren and tells them what they should be grateful to him for.

马修·格措格(Matthew Gertzog)过感恩节时,几代人之间的和睦相处是最重要的。感恩节期间的一个细节尤其让他觉得有意思。每一年,他的父亲桑尼(Sonny)都会在孙辈中进行调查,告诉他们为什么应该感谢他。

“He makes these goofy comments about how fortunate we are to be descendants of his gene pool,” said Mr. Gertzog, a senior executive for a nonprofit medical society.

“他会发表一些奇怪的评论,说我们作为后辈能拥有他的基因是多么幸运,”在一个非营利医疗协会担任高管的格措格说。

One grandchild has red hair, like her granddad’s, and he solicits thanks for it. Another has an especially nimble mind: He wants credit for that, too, and for another’s athleticism. He does this with more humor than arrogance, Mr. Gertzog said, and it’s infused, in the end, with his own gratitude for having them in his life.

一个孙女的头发是红色的,和她爷爷的一样,他便要求她要感谢他。另外一个孩子的头脑特别灵活:他也想把这一点,以及另外一个孩子的运动天赋归功于自己。格措格说,他这么做更多地是幽默,而不是自大。最终,这么做其实充满了他自己对生命里有他们的感谢。

So many kinds of rituals, so many offers of thanks: Jean Vintinner, who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, shows her gratitude for how much she has by giving some away. She, her husband and their daughter have turned Thanksgiving into a pre-Christmas pruning: Before they get new stuff for that holiday, they give away old stuff on this one, dropping off toys, clothing, art supplies and more to local charities.

仪式的种类很多,表示感谢的方式也很多:在北卡罗来纳大学夏洛特分校(University of North Carolina at Charlotte)任教的琼·文廷纳(Jean Vintinner)通过把一些物品捐赠出去,来表示对自己所拥有的一切的感谢。她和丈夫及两人的女儿已经把感恩节变成了一场圣诞前的清理:在为感恩节置办新物品之前,他们会把和感恩节有关的旧物品送出去,把玩具、衣服、美术用品等送到当地的慈善机构去。

The actor Dan Bucatinsky, who starred in the television show “Scandal” and is currently shooting “24: Legacy,” said it was always important to him to encourage displays of gratitude from his husband, Don Roos, their two children and their guests on Thanksgiving Day. But it took him a while to find a method he really liked.

曾在电视剧《丑闻》(Scandal)中出演并且目前正在拍摄《24小时:遗产》(34: Legacy)的演员丹·布卡廷斯基(Dan Bucatinsky)称,对他来说鼓励他丈夫唐·鲁斯(Don Roos)、他们的两个孩子以及他们的客人在感恩节这一天表达感激向来很重要。但他花了一段时间才找到了一种自己真正喜欢的方式。

He noticed that the children and guests could become stiff and shy if they were expected, one after another, to make some profession of what they were thankful for. So, a few years ago, he bought tiny, empty journals and put one at each person’s place.

他注意到,如果让孩子和客人一个接一个地说出自己要感谢什么,他们会变得举止僵硬、害羞。于是,几年前,他买了一些空白的小日记本,并把它们放在每个人的座位上。

“They’re gratitude notebooks,” he explained. “They take away the performance anxiety.”

“他们是感恩笔记本,”他解释说。“它们会带走对自己表现的焦虑。”

Guests write in them and keep them, but Mr. Bucatinsky always finds that a few notebooks, including his children’s, are left on the table.

客人们会在笔记本里写一些内容,然后保留它们,但布卡廷斯基发现,一些笔记本被留在了餐桌上,包括他孩子的。

“I collect them to make sure the right person gets them back,” he said, “and — it’s terrible to say — I look!” What does he find in the notebooks of his children, now 11 and 9 years old?

“我会把它们收起来,以确保那个合适的人把它们拿回去,”他说,“而且惭愧地说,我看了!”他在自己两个孩子的笔记本里发现了什么呢?他们现在一个11岁,一个9岁。

“I have not seen ‘world peace,’” he sighed. “I have not seen ‘my freedom to speak, and my ability to be who I am.’ I’m grateful if my kids remember anything that cannot be purchased on Amazon: ‘my sister,’ ‘my dog.’ And then I put that in my own gratitude notebook.”

“我没看到‘世界和平,’”他叹了口气。“也没看到‘我的言论自由和做自己的能力’。我会感谢孩子们记住了无法在亚马逊(Amazon)上买到的任何东西:‘我姐姐’,‘狗狗’。于是,我把这些也写进了我自己的感恩笔记本里。”

My family says everything through food, and on Thanksgiving, our tendency toward excess takes exaggerated, almost satirical form: four kinds of pie along with three kinds of cookies, not to mention several kinds of cake and various kinds of ice cream.

感恩节这一天,我的家人会在吃饭期间讨论一切话题。我们的暴饮暴食倾向会表现出几乎达到讽刺的夸张形式:四种馅饼和三种饼干,更别说多种蛋糕和各式各样的冰激凌了。

But that overflow exists partly because everyone who walks through the door wants to emphasize his or her thanks for being there, and does so in calories.

但食物过多部分是因为走进那道门的所有人都想强调他或她对来到这里的感谢,并以卡路里的方式来表示。

And when I reach for yet one more sweet, I’m not just revealing my gluttony. I swear. I’m showing my gratitude — that my Thanksgiving is an occasion of plenty, with an abundance of everything that matters most: wine, whipped cream, love.

当我伸手又拿起一粒糖果时,我表现出的不仅仅是贪吃。我发誓。我是在表达我的感激之情,感谢我的感恩节是一个富足的节日,所有最重要的东西都很充裕:葡萄酒、搅打奶油和爱。

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