I will try not to sound too cliché, but I’d like to talk about Thanksgiving.
I will resist discussing what I’m thankful for, if at all possible, because I’m pretty sure anything I have to say has already been covered. And if not, well, who needs to hear about how thankful I am that the roof in our back room only leaks in one spot instead of the three of previous years? Or that the weather is cooler so I have more of a desire to knit toboggans for my family? Or for the word ‘toboggan’?
So, Thanksgiving. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays because it requires the least amount of preparation on my part and the most amount of food. And my family knows how to feed people, so our holidays usually are overabundant anyway.
We are not a family that tries new dishes on Thanksgiving. Over the years my parents have perfected their techniques and don’t stray too far from that perfection. We have turkey and dressing and stuffing (stuffed into the bird, thank you very much), corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sometimes mac and cheese if we can convince my mom it’s needed, cranberry sauce, gravy, rolls, and pumpkin, apple and pecan pie. And cinnamon rolls for breakfast because we have to keep our strength up through all that cooking.
Yes, everyone is expected to help and for the most part everyone wants to. We all start early. I have many, many memories of being woken up in the wee hours of the morning to brown sausage or peel potatoes. It’s an exciting time, one that also is taken very seriously. There is a right way to cook Thanksgiving dinner and we make sure that’s the way it’s done. And all hands are needed.
This year my parents will be renovating their house and there’s a tiny chance their kitchen won’t be available on Thanksgiving Day. I told them they are welcome to have the dinner at my house, but they have to be in charge of cooking it because I’m pretty sure no one will want to eat what I cook. It just won’t be the way it’s supposed to and the family probably will revolt. Also I can’t bake fowl.
Thanksgiving is a time of laughter and family and lots and lots of food. It’s not about presents or decorations, though my mom does bring out a tacky turkey salt and pepper shaker set every year and we all make fun of her for having it. She tries to give it away every year but so far no one has accepted. Sorry, Mom.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that is only about nonmaterial things. It’s about the food and being thankful for all you have. It’s about family and friends and sharing your time, effort and table with them.
And I guess that’s what I’m thankful for: the time spent in one of my favorite pastimes with my favorite people.
Darn it. Almost made it.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on November 23, 2011.