By Amanda Knox
Oma’s first Thanksgiving in the United States wasn’t much of a Thanksgiving. She shipped off before the end of Opa’s deployment in Germany, alone except for their first child, my uncle Mickey. She spent the unfamiliar American holiday in Seattle with Opa’s mom, and didn’t think much of it, because she didn’t think much of her mother-in-law, who was in the habit of demanding extra rent from Oma at the end of each month. Also, they served raw oysters, and Oma disliked having to pick the sand out of her teeth.
Oma’s next Thanksgiving was much better. Ironically, it was back in Germany. My mom Edda was born by this time, on the military base. Another military couple joined Opa and Oma’s little family for dinner, brought the turkey. Oma contributed what has become her signature dish: red cabbage spiced with clove and apple. Opa told her the story about the Mayflower and the Native Americans, and Oma, a history buff, drank it up. This time, the holiday felt like family, and reminded her of Erntedankfest, the harvest festival, when the first wines of the season were uncorked.