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How To Say Thanks
by Adele Azar-Rucquoi

I was trained early. It happened not deliberately but in the day-to-day routine of hearing my immigrant father expressing thanks over and over for what he called the bountiful gift of money. As a youngster, I watched him slip the green paper bills into our grocery's register's slots, each time with a whispered Nuschur Allah.

Orlando existed then as a sunny sleepy city, only two department stores and one long avenue on a main street called Orange. In what we considered outskirts at the time -now every bit as much downtown- there sprawled cattle ranches, crystal lakes, and rows upon endless rows of fat orange trees.

Back in the mid-forties Dad built the first grocery on US 17-92, a full-service market about the size of an average convenience store today. It was lit by stark fluorescent lights and cooled by wooden ceiling fans lazily whirling the Florida heat out the open doors and windows. In orange blossom season a galloping sweetness invaded Azar's Market.

The story was that Charles Azar had kissed the land when he arrived in the twenties as a youngster from Syria. Early on he had scraped by, eliminating anything that stood in the way of his achieving the classic American dream. Something clearly of God burned deep in the soul of this hard working pilgrim. What delight he took when asked the meaning of his Nuschur Allah. "It's Arabic for 'Thank you, God!'" . . . from which he'd easily roll into a discourse about what a great country America was and how he, a lowly immigrant, was allowed the precious freedom to start over here. It was a speech that filled my childhood memories every bit as much as the wafting perfume of those surrounding orchards. If ever there was a patron saint of thanksgiving, it had to be my eternally grateful Syrian father.

After Sunday night dinner came the week's biggest family excitement. In church-like holy expectation and hushed awe we kids would gather around the dinning room table as Mom and Dad flipped over the large denim bags. We watched bouncing coins and rolled paper bills fall everywhere. Then began the sacred act of counting our store's bounty.

Thanks Dad for all the sweat and toil, all your denying yourself to keep us fed and in school. Thank you for your trust in life, no matter the risks. Your many Nuschar Allahs at that trusty cash register and then later with those Wall Street securities and Florida land investments. Oh, the final joy! How those long hours standing on cold cement listening to endlessly jabbering homemakers finally paid off. How the local Arabic community sang your praises. "Look at Charlie Azar, our own showcase of the American Dream!"

This past Thursday, we all gathered around tables laden with the fruits of our labors, and like those first Pilgrims with bowed heads thanked the Divine giver. Oh, the bills and coins that have sifted through the many hands to lay out all that nourishment on our Thanksgiving tables in the hope ever fresh of fulfilling that dream of a better life. Nuschar Allah!

--Meandering$: Where Spirit & Money Find Each Other, by Adele Azar-Rucquoi, The Sanford Herald, Sanford, FL, Nov 29, 2008

Noted Spiritual writer and motivational speaker, Adele Azar-Rucquoi is the author of "Money As Sacrament, Finding the Sacred in Money." She conducts lively, life-changing workshops that help women and men, wealthy or poor, uncover a healthier relationship with their money.

Published: Dec 11,2008 14:15
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