I shouldn’t have to spend every weekend at the parish, I told myself as I got ready to fly off to Honolulu for the long Thanksgiving weekend. My long-time friend, Jason Aubuchon, was hosting a dinner for a few other old cronies besides myself: Kevin O’Keefe and Steve Savage and Pat Billington. It was the old Micronesian gang gathering on neutral ground to share stories and imagine what might happen in the future.
The stories flowed, along with the red wine. So did the questions: Does the Chuuk secession movement have any chance of achieving their goal? Will China swallow the western Pacific in years to come? What are the chances of the Micronesian nations getting US aid after Compact funding ends in 2023?
But there was time for fun, too. The brewed coffee and leftover pie, cold turkey and ham, and so much more. Saturday brought time on the beach and a good run with Jason’s oldest daughter. Before I knew it, I was back on the plane to Guam thinking about what I might say at the three masses I was scheduled to celebrate the following day.
Thanksgiving was as relevant as it has ever been this year. What do we have to be thankful for? That circle of friends in Hawaii, along with those I visited in the Philippines two weeks earlier, is near the top of my list. Friends can never be taken lightly.