My turn: Cranes provide home away from home

When Charlie and Martha Crane of Portales sit down today for Thanksgiving dinner, they don’t know exactly who will be there to join them, or if they’ll even share a common native language. In fact, odds are they will not.

For the past 20 years or so, the kind-hearted Cranes have extended an open invitation to any interested international students who attend Eastern New Mexico University to join them for this most American holiday. They serve a traditional meal, a turkey surrounded by side dishes selected to accommodate a spectrum of religious and dietary preferences.

They expect a half dozen or so students to come by this year, but it could be less or a whole lot more. They’ve shared their holiday with as few as two and as many as 39 in the past, from places like India, Pakistan, China, Nepal and the Middle East.

“With our own kids being gone, it’s sort of a new family,” Charlie explains.

No RSVPs are required, so there is always an element of uncertainty, but Charlie is fixing a “big” turkey (he tackles all the main dishes) and Martha will have plenty of desserts waiting.

I suspect hearts are as full as stomachs at the end of the feast. I hope that happens in your house today, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!