Warrior Words: Happy Thanksgivukuh!

The approach of Thanksgiving yields anticipation of turkey and gravy, crunchy leaves on the ground, football on the television, and the infamous plastic cups that read, “It’s more fun at the kids’ table!,” which we adolescents have the pleasure of using every year at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. For years, each of these things has characterized what Thanksgiving means for me.

This year is different, however. The 28th of November also just so happens to be the second night of Hanukah. This means that those of us who celebrate both of these festive holidays get hit with a double whammy; “Thanksgivukah” seems to be the official name. I’m anxiously waiting for my hero, Adam Sandler, to release a hit about the “eight crazy nights” coupled with Turkey Day. Shall he sing about turkeys wearing yarmulkes? Latkes smothered in gravy? He’s the creative genius, not me.

Most importantly, though, this is my last Thanksgiving as a full-time Wilton native. A year from now, I’ll be traveling from my still-to-be-determined new home to my old home via plane, train, or car to return to friends, family, and local comforts. With this in mind, and with teary eyes and a heavy heart, I’d like to use this opportunity to ponder the things I’ll miss and those that I’m most thankful for around Wilton.

• While I have deep love and respect for Annie’s macaroni and cheese, Skinny Pop, Nutella, and the ribs from the Village Market, one particular masterpiece of a treat holds the key to my heart. I am eternally grateful for Ben, Jerry and the gents of Phish who created the chocolatey, marshmallowy, caramely goodness that is Phish Food ice cream. And I’m thankful beyond words that my hometown grocers — the Village Market(!), Caraluzzi’s, and Stop & Shop — are all a short ride away, and guaranteed to be well-stocked with this delicacy whenever I get a craving, which is more often than I’m willing to admit.

• I’m thankful that every time I call the Wilton Deli to place a take-out order, they immediately recognize my voice and can recite to me my order before it even escapes my lips: a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with a hash brown on a hard roll. Now that’s customer service!

Not that I don’t consider my food choices a vital matter, but on a more serious note, I’m also thankful for certain people who do what they do in ways that only they can.

So many of us WHS seniors have attended Wilton schools together since kindergarten and earlier. It’s crazy to think that some of my fellow Zion’s Hill Preschool alums now have beards and drive cars. Especially now, I am nostalgic for our younger, more innocent days, and am hugely thankful for these long-lasting friendships with so many fellow Wiltonians.

Unfortunately, my older sister is studying abroad in Australia and will not make it home in time for our Thanksgiving celebration. The Berg clan hasn’t been the same without her, but I am thankful that next year, we will both make the trip home to spend the holidays together. As for my character of a younger brother, his high-energy personality and his constant antics — both musical and otherwise — keep me captivated and greatly amused. I will certainly miss his spot-on impressions of everyone he comes into contact with, but I am thankful, in advance, for Skype and FaceTime, which will keep us connected as I venture forth into the world.

As if celebrating two holidays on one day wasn’t enough, Thanksgiving is also my dad’s birthday this year. Here’s to another bunch of years of musical talent, witty humor, and unfaltering support. However, I am decidedly my mother’s daughter; her friends often refer to me as “mini-Max.” We constantly share laughs and (almost) always see eye-to-eye, both literally and figuratively. My parents are the ultimate dynamic duo and I’m so very thankful for their encouragement and affection.

I’ve had the privilege of having some teachers throughout my Wilton educational career who have reached me in special ways, truly helped me to learn and grow, and have improved my outlook on life. To name a couple: Doctora Zobler has instilled in me not only a passion for Spanish language and culture, but now I also know that no one can truly have a “corazon contento” without a “barriga llena” (happy heart/full belly). Mr. Delzell is the epitome of a gentle giant; he is as imposing in stature as he is kindhearted. He can break even the most complex of math concepts down into a series of simple steps and make the process fun even for us mere mathematical mortals. No one ever would have expected this technology-avoiding, salsa-dancing, gardening, perennial favorite teacher to tear into the finer points of differential equations so early in the mornings. I am thankful for them both and so many other excellent teachers and mentors throughout the years.

Finally, I am tremendously thankful that I have grown up in Wilton. We live in an incredibly strong and supportive community and I am lucky to have spent my first 18 years in such a nurturing environment.

Happy Thanksgiving (Thanksgivukah) to all!

Nicole Berg is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.