The next day is Thanksgiving, and Miles thinks that Dolores makes the best Thanksgiving meal he’s ever had. In Miles’ family, everyone says what they are thankful for before the meal, so they usually end up rushing through it so that they can get to the food more quickly. At the Colonel’s house, on the other hand, they say what they’re grateful for after the meal, and they take it much more seriously.
Miles comes from an extremely stable family and the Colonel comes from a broken home, yet the Colonel and his mother appreciate family much more than Miles’ family do. The Martin family Thanksgiving is much more about the people who participate in it than the food they eat.
Miles says that he’s grateful for the food, company, and having a place to spend Thanksgiving. Alaska says that this is her best Thanksgiving in the past ten years. The Colonel says he’s grateful for his mom, but she says that’s not enough, so he adds that he appreciates being the smartest person in their trailer park. Dolores is thankful for having a phone that works, her son back home, Alaska’s help in the kitchen, a job with nice coworkers, a bed, and a son who loves her. On the drive back to school, Miles realizes that he’s not just going back to school: he’s going home.
Miles, the Colonel, and Dolores give concrete answers to what they’re thankful for, but Alaska, as usual, gives a mysterious one. Further, while the others speak about the things they are grateful for in that moment, Alaska is grateful to experience something different from her memory of Thanksgivings past. No one asks if anything happened ten years ago that made Alaska’s Thanksgivings bad, and she does not give any more detail.