It is Thanksgiving in the United States – a time for family, food and football. For most Americans, including Six Park CEO Pat Garrett and his family, Thanksgiving is as special as the Christmas holiday period.
“The message of Thanksgiving seems to be something Australians really admire. It’s still sort of simple and pure – it’s a time to give thanks for what you have and spend time with family,” Pat says.
At 6 Park Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where Pat has spent almost every summer and Thanksgiving of his life, there will be two fires crackling through most of the day and night. In the days leading up to the big meal, the kitchen is a beehive of activity with homemade meals where everyone gets involved, even the next generation now, thankfully. After dinner, you’ll find a bunch of people playing cards until the early hours, or chatting together while watching gridiron on TV.
Pat has only missed one Thanksgiving with his family since moving to Australia 16 years ago. It’s a time for decompression, slowing down a bit, and reflecting on the year that was – a slight contrast to the beach games and barbecues that typify his visits home in summer for the Fourth of July.
“At 6 Park, this time of year is about cleaning up the house and getting things in order for winter. The traditions involve some hard house work with winter arriving, and plenty of mind-clearing quiet time as the summer crowds have left, but there’s still a house full of family and close friends,” he says.
The Thanksgiving break – which might only be a long weekend for some – is far more compressed than summer holidays, making the imperative to be together even more pronounced. The family gathers from places as far flung as Florida, Connecticut, Atlanta, Maryland, and Melbourne, of course, to prepare the house for the coming winter. There are windows to be changed, leaves to rake, and summer stuff to be put away for another year.
“Everyone chips in – no one gets away without a bit of hard work to earn the good meals,” Pat says. “So you might clean summer grime off the ocean porch table one day, paint the next day, go for a run with the kids the next morning, then rake 40 bags of fallen fall leaves that afternoon, followed by a trip to the local to watch gridiron.
“It’s the time of the year when weather can be very unpredictable. We have a variety of activities and chores, so we make the most of it. We make sure there’s a plan for bad weather – we’ll go to the local oyster bar, watch movies and play cards. We can’t control the weather, but we can have enough to keep entertained and get the work done no matter what.”
Pat’s brother-in-law Terrence always sends amazing baked goods for the family to enjoy – a tradition shared back in Melbourne at the Six Park offices, where a few talented bakers from the team regularly bring sweet treats like muffins and brownies to share.
“It’s nice to have those little links between my home in the US and my home in Melbourne,” Pat says.
“The two Six Parks have a lot in common.”