Food, Family, and Football are the perfect trifecta of my favorite holiday.
First off, don’t fuck with the FOOD! On this holiday, any changes should be kept to a minimum. Make the traditional turkey (butterball) stuffed with Pepperidge Farm herbed seasoned cubed stufffing. Make sure you double the butter in the stuffing! Creamed onions, squash – acorn or butternut, or both! Mashed potatoes, homemade only, please! Cranberry sauce – the canned, jellied kind that you slice in perfect discs. Rolls, real butter, pies – homemade only – pecan, apple, pumpkin -and in recent years the addition of chocolate. We don’t deviate or alter the Menu to be spicy, different, new or those crazy things. That our menu is perhaps boring, well, is frankly comforting. Over the years there have been more deletions than additions and that’s ok. Nobody feels like making the stuffed cream cheese celery sticks, carrot sticks and olive tray. The stuffed dates go to waste, so why bother.
Family. Again, don’t FUCK around. Like Caroline Manzo said, “In this family, we are as thick as thieves!” Once you’re in, you’re in. And if you can’t quite fit in (cue EX spouses) – sucks to be you! We laugh, we work, and we play, mostly. Sometimes we argue, and sometimes we fight. It all comes from passionate feelings. That is fine with me. I don’t much like the fighting, because there are some deep wounds in our lives, but it is pretty rare these days, and with our advancing ages, we seem to avoid it more, which is good. I look forward to playing Monopoly and or Scrabble, taking a walk in the woods (there are bears out there!) watching too much TV, reading New Yorker magazines. Sitting around the kitchen table with the womenfolk, or lounging on the couch with the men, cue the Football part.
I’ve always wanted to have a backyard Kennedy-esque touch football session on Thanksgiving afternoon. I have this vision through blurry, clicking old film footage in my head as I envision my family from afar as the quintessential American family. It never happens, and it never will – but that is fine.
As far as memories of my favorite holiday, I won’t explain them all, but here is a list, and I am thinking a few of my closest family will remember:
Driving on the turnpike, White Castle, the stern reminders to be ladylike – help in the kitchen-do the dishes-etc. the faint gas smell in Grandma’s house, going upstairs to visit MorMor and her canary, exploring Forbes Street, sitting on the stairs with your plate of food (maybe that was only me and Elizabeth?) that one glass of sherry/wine/liqueur we were allowed, the turquoise china, the checkerboard tablecloth, the silver polishing, the mountain of dishes, that oneyearmomandotherunnamedfamilymembersmayormaynothavesmokedseveraljointsafterthemealand ateseveralpieswithcoolwhip, the inclusion of people unrelated but who had no families nearby to share (that was awesome).
And finally, I recall my precious daughter’s first Thanksgiving, which I am sure she doesn’t remember. Her dad had to work at the prison, and so faced with his weird family for the day, I opted for serving dinner at the VFW with her in a carrier on my back. We spent the whole day there, and it was awesome, the old vets loved to see a baby 11months old, and I felt proud to be teaching my baby that this holiday is about being thankful, and what should we feel more thankful about than our veterans?
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I am thankful to just be alive and that I still have my baby, despite the fact that I most likely won’t get to see/talk to her…maybe soon she will come around.