Sunday, November 20, 2005

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Partly because I get to do my best Martha imitation, which I love, and partly because of what the holiday stands for. Gratitude, love of friends and family, memories... such a bittersweet mix of things. We miss the loved ones who are gone, remember past holidays, and celebrate the friends and family we have now. At my house there will be LOTS of celebration. The house we lived in before this one was truly tiny, and when we had the family come to visit, it was practically standing room only. Of course we had a grand time anyway, but usually other houses were chosen to be the site of big holiday celebrations. Once we moved here, we offered to be the Thanksgiving hosts, and it has been that way every year since. My husband's immediate family is very large, and we always encourage them to invite anyone else they want to. We usually have 25-30 people, but one year it was 48!

Preparation for this event starts early. Some people do Spring cleaning, I do pre-Thanksgiving cleaning. I have been climbing on ladders to dust ceiling fans, washing windows, polishing floors, and doing yard work. The mums peaked in October and aren't so wonderful now, so we spruced up the flowerbeds with some bright annuals here and there. The grass is freshly mown and the weeds have been whacked into temporary submission. I will be ironing my bright autumn colored table linens and my son will be pressed into furniture moving duty. The dogs will receive their baths this afternoon. Even though they will live in the yard for "the day", they will have lots of visitors. The weather has been glorious, sunny, and not too hot.

Jerry has been happily tinkering with his new smoker, which means that this year we will have one smoked turkey and one done on the rotisserie. I use chicken broth to make gravy, since there are no "pan drippings", and the stuffing will be in a casserole. Every family that comes will bring one or more side dishes, so my table that seats 12 will be pressed into service for a buffet, and the kitchen counters will hold the overflow. The picnic table and patio tables will be cleaned up, brought inside and dressed in linens, as will the folding banquet tables. Before the meal, we will gather around the buffet, hold hands, say a prayer, and thankfully remember our blessings. If it is a year when we have lost someone, then we take time to remember them and how our lives were made richer by their presence. After dinner, there will be football watching, video gaming, card playing, and outdoor or indoor games. Yahtzee and Balderdash seem to be perennial favorites. The activity will go on for hours. As the evening grows later, we will break out the food and share another meal.

I read once that if you have spare change in your car's ashtray, then you are wealthier than 80% of the world's population. Sobering thought. So share what you can whenever you can, and give thanks.


Valeri said...

Jen you made Thanksgiving sound a wonderful event. It was as good as reading a book and I can't give higher praise than that. This is n't a time that we go overboard on over here so it was lovely to read your account. Thank you!

Gerrie said...

Wow! That is a lot of people to cook for, but if you are like me - you love cooking big!! Nice sentiment, too. Hoep you have a wonderful day!

Deb R said...

Thanksgiving day at your house sounds fun, Jen. Can I be your cousin or something? :-)

Scrapmaker said...

Hey Deb,
I was born in Ky., and we have some similar ancestry, so we probably ARE cousins. Jen

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