A Thanksgiving Tale of Gratitude and Appreciation

thanksgBy Pam Denholm

As many of our customers know, I was not born here in the United States; I was actually born in Zimbabwe on the African continent. When I was a young girl my family moved to South Africa where I finished my schooling, met and married my husband, and together we had two children. We only moved to the United States six years ago – clutching a dream of a better and safer life for our children, we moved to be nearer to his family who live in Marshfield. We had visited before, New England with its family values was an easy choice for a place to live and I loved Boston, the juxtaposition of old and new fascinated me. So much history yet it has a very youthful feel about it, with just a sprinkling of the European culture of slower mornings, pastries and good coffee.

Although we had visited, I did not know very much about the culture, and was a little wary about what to expect when we stepped out of the airport that warm June evening. It was exciting to be on such a big adventure and I wanted my children to have a fearless and brave role model, but leaving behind our lives, our friends and family was heartbreaking and terrifying, what if we had made a bad decision? What if these tight-knit communities meant I would always be an outsider? What if we couldn’t make this work? The first indication I had that we could make this a home came just days after our arrival. Some colleagues at my mother-in-laws work place had heard we had arrived with two young children in tow, but that the container which carried our worldly possessions, including their toys, was coming by ship and wouldn’t arrive for eight to twelve weeks. They rallied together, phoned a few friends and overnight assembled four toy boxes of goodies for Ryan and April to play with – it was like Christmas, my children experienced such joy at the generosity of these complete strangers, and I was so touched at the thoughtfulness of the gesture. Over the years we hit a few bumps in the road, and I have often gone back to that moment when a bunch of people I didn’t know nor had ever met, made us feel welcome and I have drawn strength and hope from it time and again.

The next indication was our First Thanksgiving. We were alone, my husband’s family was away on a trip and we received so many invitations for lunch from people we hardly knew, who wanted to open their homes and make space for us around their holiday tables. I often say Thanksgiving is the day I fell in love with America, as a nation. I guess I am a romantic, but again the generosity of people around us was touching, and the very idea that an entire nation of people all 250 million people, stop for a whole day and celebrate their heritage (which includes football), break bread together and express gratitude for all they have – that doesn’t really happen anywhere else in the world. And regardless of the fact that you often have opposing points of view, your pride in the country in which you live, how very much you care, was evident that day when a room full of people went respectfully quiet while the Star Spangled Banner was sung.

Over the years, we have come to know the people in our community as incredibly hard working, generous, passionate people. We have met some new friends, who I cherish, and we are building our new life brick by brick, still clutching a dream. I feel enormous pride over South Shore Organics, but I did not do it alone, my whole family (kids, husband and in-laws and parents) have been supportive from the very first moment, whispering words of encouragement when I thought we would fail, and showering me with praise at each little success. My team too, most have whom have been with me from early on, have worked incredibly hard in all kinds of conditions to realize the vision we set out to achieve in the beginning, and our customers are amazing. They care as much as I do, and I don’t know many small businesses who can say that their customers are the nicest people you could meet, and a joy to be of service to.

South Shore Organics is an evolving story, we still have a lot of work to do and I get impatient, but I am grateful for all we have accomplished, and for the promise of what is to come thanks to every person who has had a hand in it in one way or another in the last three years.