Happy Thanksgiving to all!
It was a weird one for me. We had plans to go to Florida this year to spend the first Thanksgiving in 6 years with my parents, but as the day drew near, Mark was bombarded with work and felt he couldn’t get away. I wasn’t willing to disappoint my Mom another year, so we ended up going separate ways on a holiday for the first time ever in the the last 20 years. When we lived in Florida, Thanksgiving was always my gig, ( a cooking fest that involved a massive number of dishes) but since we’ve moved, my sister has taken up the reigns, and now the new tradition is for her to take everyone to a very fancy buffet at her ritzy country club. Mark took his Mother & sister (and Kent since he opted to stay home as well) to a fancy resort in North Carolina for a similar buffet. In essence, we ate the same meal, only in different states.
(Brother-in-law Bill, Me, Sister Linda, Neva, Dad and Mom – all of us pretending we enjoyed posing for a picture, when we could have been at the table with our friends ordering booze already at 11:30 am . . . yeah, we get what a serious gorge is all about.)
Mark and I called each other to wish a happy Thanksgiving to all and I said, “This is weird.”
“No kidding,” he said.
“And the worst thing is, I think I’m having cooking withdrawal. The food is remarkable, but none of it tastes like Thanksgiving to me. I wish I had made stuffing and stuffed it into my purse. This meal, for all that it’s so extravagant, seems to be missing real food.”
Since the food was so different from my usual holiday fare, I decided to get adventurous and try my first ever oyster. I’ve always avoided oysters because, as someone with no sense of smell, I’m a texture oriented person and I never liked the look of those slimy, gray blobs, but with everyone around me digging in and encouraging me to partake, I thought I might as well join the party. I do happen to like the romantic folklore of oysters, of course, and that gave me inspiration – besides which, going for the oysters gave me a chance to flirt with several cute men at the seafood table who enjoyed giving the “single for the day” young woman advice on how to prepare the tasty morsel (the fact that they considered me, a 50 year old, a young woman tells you just how spry and sexy (and half dead) the men I flirt with actually are) .
My dad saw me cautiously eating my appetizer, and said, “How come you never had an oyster before – thought you couldn’t handle even one more degree of passion run amok?”
“Yea, Dad, that’s it. It’s been a self preservation thing . . . I got those wild genes of yours, and it’s all I can do to keep them from raging out of control. Never wanted to risk it by adding oysters to the mix.”
“It’s the East curse,” he deadpanned.
For the record, I consider oysters tasteless, and the texture is like eating a flattened slug. Needless to say, I now can say with authority that this particular shell food is overrated . . . especially since I didn’t even feel a glimmer of heightened libido. False advertising, I say!
It was fun seeing my family though. I enjoyed an evening with my aunt (84 – I’ll offer a picture of this grand and dear old relative, for prosperity sake) and as the next picture proves, I had hugged my sister . . .but don’t let looks deceive. We are always one step away from a full out wrestling match . . Hey, I can take her – really I can – maybe I’ll prove it at Christmas.
It was all together an interesting holiday. I drove down in the wee hours, my head mulling over a million thoughts – and I arrived early enough to fit in 5 solo appointments with some lovely young dancers. The next day I spent time with family and we ate, then played dice (which wasn’t so special since lucky me didn’t win a single dang round.) And before you knew it I was up at 4am and driving home dodging the black Friday traffic for ten hours while Neva slept – again just me and my thoughts slipping around my head like a movie on fast forward – the only thing to distract me was the occasional NPR interview blasting on the radio. I stopped to buy Neva headphones for her I-pod so she could be spared what she called “Mom’s radio torture”.
But despite the pace of this weird holiday, I did pause to give thanks. Even on years when you feel its a stretch, there’s always a great deal to be thankful for if you stand back and think your life through.
With twenty hours of solo driving to fill, I found plenty of blessings to focus on. Hope everyone else did too.