Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

If you can't be with the holiday you love, love the holiday you're with.

Sarita Fae Jarmack, 25, who grew up in the United States, has already traveled to some 30 countries. Roaming the wide world over, she has discovered that it can sometimes be quite difficult — even on this interconnected planet — to touch base with her childhood traditions.

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is more about people than pumpkin pie.

And for many Americans observing the special day in other countries — since pumpkin pie can be hard to come by — the people around them play a more prominent role.

Here in the States, many folks play American-made football — touch, not tackle — on Thanksgiving Day after the megameal.

But in other parts of the world, no one will be the wiser if you make a substitution — and play American-made baseball. Turkey Ball instead of Turkey Bowl, perhaps?

Recipes, like memories, transcend place and time. Wherever American Kelly Crutchlow lives, she brings along remembrances of her family and their ways of observing Thanksgiving.

Today Kelly, who is originally from Iowa, is living near Coventry, England, with her British husband, Adam, and their two children, Rowan, 4, and Ewan, 2.

As American expatriate Amy Bell points out, a Thanksgiving celebration does not always depend on falling leaves and falling temperatures. It depends on being full of thanks.

In Chile, Thanksgiving "falls on the brink of summertime," says Amy, a science teacher at an international school in Santiago. "Unfortunately, we don't have the day off from work, so my crew of American expats gather on the following Saturday to enjoy a full day of eating, drinking and gratitude."

Sometimes you carry Old Thanksgiving Traditions with you around the world; sometimes you make up Old Thanksgiving Traditions right on the spot.

Regan Watson — an American expat from San Diego now living in Barcelona, Spain — and her friends are creating a few rituals that we homelanders might want to consider.

"For years I had hosted Thanksgiving at my shared Barcelona apartment," Regan says, but "my oven was a bit too small for the 9-kilo turkey that I had to special order."

For many Americans, the Thanksgiving holiday – with its site-specific sounds, smells, tastes, colors and rituals – is a meaningful, memory-making must-do kind of thing.

Even – maybe, especially – for those Americans living in other countries.

Funny thing about being an American living away from America: It makes you think more about what it means to be an American.

But which is the dominant sentiment? Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Or out of sight, out of mind? The answer depends on a lot of variables.

Over the years, various people and projects have explored those variables: the mechanics and meanings of expatriation.

One of America's most notable expatriates, novelist Ernest Hemingway, examined the notion from many angles in the 1920s.

When we asked American members of the NPR community who are living in other countries to let us in on their plans for Thanksgiving 2013, we received hundreds and hundreds of responses.

Some expatriates say they plan to trot out the turkey and dressing and Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish. Others say they don't plan to celebrate one whit. Many folks sent us stories and photos of past Thanksgivings spent abroad.

Here are a few examples:

The usual question for Americans on an Anniversary of National Significance is: Where Were You When...?

Where Were You When you learned that: Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot on April 4 in 1968? Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 21, 1969? The twin towers of the World Trade Center were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001?

But there is another question of orientation: Who Were You When ... a certain nation-changing event occurred?

This is who I was — 50 years ago this month — when I heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

Is Halloween — our national October obsession with candy, costumes and decorations — over and done?

Poetry is important. And the hope for this standing feature of The Protojournalist is that by searching for a poetic nugget in the constant rush of news we can slow down for a moment and contemplate what the news story really means.

Like finding a lovely pebble in a mountain stream. Or a dropped earring on a crowded sidewalk.

Haiku in the News — you can find other examples here — is not designed to be a trivial thing.

Gray Lady Poems

Capitol Hill is rife with rich people — "hillionaires," if you will.

Writing in The New York Times, Nicholas Carnes, a public policy professor at Duke University, points out that millionaires show up in only 3 percent of American families. But more than 60 percent of the Senate, most members of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court — and the president himself — are millionaires.

­­My friend Mark Leibovich — a New York Times reporter — has written a book about the inner watchworkings of Power Washington called This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Capital. Among the incestuous cognoscenti of the Capital City, This Town has more buzz than a top-bar beehive.

Appetizer: Hogs In A Sleeping Bag

These hearty kielbasas, partially hidden in puff pastries, represent Paula Deen's first catering company The Bag Lady — begun in 1989. It offered "lunch and love" ... in a bag.

The World's Smallest Office competition is over. But will the Smoffice create jobs?

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Ollie Cantos – blind his whole life – has a law degree and has worked in the White House. He's overcome self-doubts, prejudices, naysayers and countless unforeseen – and unseen – obstacles to get to this point. Not content, he's hoping to adopt teenage triplets — Leo, Nick and Steven — also blind. "My whole life has changed. I live for these guys," says Ollie, 42, who lives in Arlington, Va., and works for the federal government.

Seeing journalism changing. Storytelling, too.

Looking for new ways to tell stories. Like looking for alternative energies.

Stories are found everywhere – in a game, in graffiti, in a list, in a painting, in a sunset. In a face. In a life. On a screen. New tools create new ways to tell stories.

We can break news and break barriers at the same time.

To: The National Security Agency

From: The Protojournalist

Subject: Please feel free to read our email exchange with Wendy Nather, a high-tech analyst who focuses on security issues at 451 Research in Austin, Texas. Not that you need our permission.

Dear Wendy Nather,

You think you're so smart. You think it's easy being the president of the United States. OK, pal — here's your chance.

One of the attractions of the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas — scheduled to be dedicated on Thursday — is Decision Points Theater, an interactive experience. The venue allows visitors to participate in a simplified simulation of the presidential decision-making process.

As a city, Boston is at the crux of this country's past, present and future.

This was brought home on April 15 — Tax Day, Patriots Day, Marathon Day — when two deadly bombs exploded on historic Boylston Street near the finish line of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.

The tragic blasts occurred so close to the Boston Public Library that the building — home to the personal book collection of Founding Father John Adams — is included in the crime scene.

The bombs struck at the very heart of the heart of America.

Secret recordings are becoming a tradition in American politics.

Like buttons, bunting and backslapping at barbecues, surreptitious audio and/or video surprises continue to pop up in political settings — with more and more frequency.

Guns and America were born around the same time and grew up together. Like feuding cousins, their histories have been linked ever since.

Often helpful in American history — and often harmful — the portable gun has been inarguably influential in the national direction. The American Revolution would not have been won without guns. Precious lives at numerous school shootings would not have been lost without guns. And somewhere in between those two truisms lies the truth about what Americans really feel about firearms.

Retirement ads are everywhere these days. The Villages lures retirees to come live, love and golf in Florida. USAA offers financial counsel to retiring military personnel.

And the Bushes just keep on coming.

In recent memory, there was George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. Then there was George W. Bush, 43rd president. And now there's John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, who may want to become the 45th president.

Jeb is sending mixed signals: Tonight he is a keynote speaker at a Conservative Political Action Conference dinner, but he has asked that his name be removed from CPAC's 2016 presidential straw poll.

Does Jeb have what it takes to be the next president of the United States?