Mr Richards' words Autumn week 10
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. In 1999 - 2000, I spent an amazing year at University in North Carolina; I was well looked after by those wonderful people in the Tar Heel state. The nickname of Tar Heel came from a group of soldiers from North Carolina who refused to yield on a bridge, to the extent that the commanding officer noted that those soldiers ‘must have tar on their heels’. We all must dig in during this tough part of the year, as the nights draw in and Christmas is still a distant speck on the horizon.
I spent Thanksgiving 1999 with a friend’s family who made sure I was well fed and fully versed in the holiday traditions. We had a great meal and sat down with full bellies to watch the Panthers play football and chat about politics... that day has always stuck with me. That friend has become a lifelong friend and he was visiting the UK last week. As we met for a beer in London, we reflected on that day and how the Brit in a foreign land was taken in, fed and shown around the customs; just like the Native Americans did with the Pilgrims in the 1620s. It is important that we reach out and help those in need and equally important that we accept that we may need some help from others and not be afraid to ask for it. We must then appreciate that help and work together in the future, a lesson that Native Americans feel is sometimes lost in the general narrative of Thanksgiving.
On Monday we heard from another inspirational woman, Dr Austin, a qualified doctor who served in The Armed forces and spent a year learning her trade in Borneo. We heard stories of her trekking in the untouched jungle and helping the local people there. She spoke openly about the illness she has had to deal with and how tough this has been for her. She gave the advice to all of us struggling with one thing or another; that we must reach out for help when we need it but we must also not let our issues dominate us and to rise above them to achieve all we can in our lives.
I hope you have a great weekend.