Once again, just like the last ten or more years, I got to host Thanksgiving dinner for my loud, wacky family, both immediate and extended. I spend days cooking and cleaning for this event, pulling a 14 hour day of non-stop cooking, serving and cleaning today. And the clean up will not be done for another couple of days, maybe three or four dishwasher loads on top of a few sink loads of dishes by hand and dismantling the serpentine table and chair arrangements wending through the dining and living areas. This year there were thirty of us, including the usual stranger who has no place to go for Thanksgiving. I am proud of my family members for offering a spot at our table–and there is always one or two each year. I love my family. They’re good people.
I have the great good fortune to belong to a family that can gather once or twice a year like this and break bread together, catch up on lives, loves and laughs. I take great care to provide them with a memorable meal and gathering, cooking two turkeys, one barbecued and one roasted, accompanied by apple-leek stuffing and cider gravy, the butternut apple cider soup they all love and rave about all year long, and pumpkin pie from scratch. And everyone else brings the wonderful sides: mashed and sweet potatoes, fresh asparagus in butter sauce, fresh cranberry sauce, honey baked ham (Dad doesn’t care for turkey), root vegetable medley, and pies, lots of pies. We love our tradition, and these foods make up our tradition no matter who has been added or subtracted from our gathering.
Though she stays in the back room now, unaware that her entire beloved family that she grew and raised and helped raise, my mom is still with us bodily, and sometimes mentally. But I am hopeful she knows with some other part of herself that we are here, senses it deep within her neurons, some vibrations. And I am so grateful to have her, have them, and have all that I have. I truly won the lottery. I hope I never take that for granted.
Peace and love to you and yours,