Giving Thanks All Over the Place

Space Turkey

As I reminisce about the special dinners I’ve shared with others, I’m a little surprised.  Of course, I’ve had dinner with family members, but also with my Space Shuttle crews. Once, when we were in quarantine waiting for our flight, our meal was thoughtfully prepared by Crew Quarters Dieticians. They sometimes took special requests for dessert like pie or cake. Their preparation ensured that we would remain healthy while we awaited our flight.


Dinnertime in orbit consisted of meals ready to eat prepared by the military.   Meals ready to eat, or MRE’s, are also distributed after natural disasters. Such was the case in Houston after Hurricane Harvey caused devastating flooding that forced many people to evacuate their homes.  We also ate freeze-dried packages of fruits and vegetables. The freeze-dried strawberries were a favorite and we often asked for extra packages!

Recently, one of my crews was invited for a Thanksgiving dinner with the Prince of Monaco which was spent overlooking a marina filled with beautiful yachts. I was seated right next to the Prince. I struggled to make small talk with him, but ever the consummate professional, he was quite comfortable and before long we were sharing stories about our children. What they served at that dinner was not quite like our American food or what we are used to having here traditionally—but it was delicious!

Thanksgiving with the Prince

Looking back, I consider all those meals special, but I can truthfully say as Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz- “There’s no place like home!” Sharing a meal around our family table with Hoot, our children and our grandchildren is the most special place of all.

Thanksgiving in Monaco

I hope that you are also able to share your Thanksgiving meal this year with your family and if not, at least with your very special friends.—Rhea

For more Thanksgiving memories from Rhea, check out these blogs and a very special Thanksgiving audiogram message:

Space Turkey

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving Message

1 Comment

  1. Dear Rhea, I hope that you are doing well and that you are able to spend the upcoming Holiday Season with your family and friends. I will never forget the times we spent preparing for SLS-2 and I just want you to know that I still consider you the person most responsible for my career in Emergency Medicine, which still continues at the age of 68 (not so old, right?). You have been an incredibly important figure in my life and my career and I will never forget the kindness and consideration shown to me by you and the entire crew of SLS-2. I always look forward to your posts and enjoy them immensely. As a former USAF Flight Surgeon, I can certainly appreciate the MREs that you consumed on orbit as I have had a few of those myself Wishing you, and your family, all the best, always.


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