Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The season of giving is finally upon us. The last time I was unemployed during this time of year was in the fall of 06’. I was supposed to be the host’s assistant on a reality show in Fiji. The plan was for me to arrive mid-November in LA, get my shots, prep the host and 3 days later depart for the South Pacific.

Unfortunately, due to a Fijian coup d'├ętat the show was put on hold indefinitely and I was stuck in LA, fully vaccinated with zero income and a rental car. Thanks to the kindness of the freegans who took me in until the show's fate was decided I was able to remain on the west coast, well fed (that’s a whole other story) with a roof over my head.

When my straight edge hosts realized that I had nowhere to go on my first Thanksgiving away from my family they invited me to their friends mom’s house. There was just one condition – I couldn’t say anything about the pictures of John Candy everywhere.

Um… what?

Turns out Rose Candy, John Candy’s widow invites all the friends of her son and daughter to come over and celebrate American Thanksgiving with them (they are from the Great White North, our Thanksgiving is like any other Thursday to them).

When I showed up on 2 hours notice, Rose opened the large heavy oak doors to her Beverly Hills mansion, gave me a kiss on the cheek and welcomed me into her home with a sincere hug.

The mixed group of 20-something vegans, vegetarians and carnivores that filled her kitchen was dubbed “Rose Candy and the LA Orphans” by one of the 15 other guests. Rose cooked a wide variety of mouth-watering food to accommodate us all.

As the speed at which we shoveled the food into our mouths slowed down and pant buttons were surreptitiously undone, the conversation turned to the man who was responsible for buying the house we were all sitting in.

Rose and her kids Chris and Jen told tales about John Candy. Their stories weren't about red carpets and name dropping. They were about a husband and father who liked to tell jokes and take his family on road trips. It was all really touching and made me eager to head home and give my own dad a hug.

The only thing that was really "Hollywood" about the whole experience was eating dessert with my feet in a hot tub, 50 feet from the Olsen Family’s mansion (one of the twins has been obsessed with me ever since), overlooking downtown LA.

I’m grateful that this Thursday I will get to spend Thanksgiving in Philly and witness how much my cousins’ kids have grown up. I’m grateful that my parents, aunts and uncles will all be surrounding me too, not judging me for filling my plate with both dark meat and tofurky.

Finally, I am grateful to you for reading this right now. Every time someone new tells me they love my blog it makes me feel like I’m doing something positive for those who feel they are alone in their unemployment situation. It's kind of like what Rose Candy did by treating 15 lonesome strangers as if they were family on a night they needed it most.