'An Opportunity To Be Thankful': Reflecting On A First Thanksgiving In The U.S. Roy Daley immigrated to the U.S. from Honduras 50 years ago. At StoryCorps, he talks about his first impressions of America and how he learned the meaning of Thanksgiving in those early weeks.
NPR logo

'An Opportunity To Be Thankful': Reflecting On A First Thanksgiving In The U.S.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/669370342/670373353" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'An Opportunity To Be Thankful': Reflecting On A First Thanksgiving In The U.S.

'An Opportunity To Be Thankful': Reflecting On A First Thanksgiving In The U.S.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/669370342/670373353" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's Friday, which means it's time for StoryCorps. Fifty years ago, Roy Daley was living in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. He was 23 when a friend offered him a job in the United States. He hopped a plane to Pennsylvania with little more than two shirts and a change of pants. And he came to StoryCorps with his wife, Ana, and his daughter Lucy to talk about his early days in America.

ROY DALEY: When we arrived, I step out of the plane. I look around, and I encounter a monster. There was this moving step. How do you get on to a moving escalator when you've never done this? So eventually, I negotiated - I'll just get on it. And as it was going up - it was a long escalator - how do I get off of this escalator?

(LAUGHTER)

DALEY: That was my first challenge in the United States. We got to Pennsylvania about 10 o'clock, something like that. And so we went up to sleep. And I got up real early in the morning. Finally, I'm in America. I want to see what it looks like. I came downstairs, and I opened up the door. I was in the middle of nowhere. Guess what? There was no leaf on the tree. Nothing. Everything was dead, like if I landed on the moon. I start to wonder, did I make the right move? I came November 7, just before Thanksgiving. I have never seen a Thanksgiving. I've heard about it.

I was invited to dinner. And I was asked to bring a covered dish. So I went to the store, and I purchased the biggest dish with a cover, put it in a bag. When we got to the church, everybody brought all the food. I took out mine, and I hand it to the lady. And everybody started to laugh. And I had no idea what they were laughing about. So my friend translated, yes, plato cubierto - covered dish - means bring a dish with a cover. They did not say to bring food. In Honduras, if you wanted to bring food, you say, hey, bring a plate of food, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

ANA SMITH-DALEY: Here you are 50 years later. Last year was your 50th year of being in this country.

DALEY: Yes, celebrated 50 years. For the first year I celebrate Thanksgiving, I discover it was an opportunity to be thankful for all the blessings you receive during the year. And ever since then, the biggest joy of my life is coming here by myself. And today, I have three children, five grandchildren and a beautiful wife. So I'm truly blessed.

INSKEEP: Roy Daley and Ana Smith-Daley at StoryCorps in Austin, Texas. Their conversation will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.