Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Posted by Censor Librorum on Nov 20, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

This weekend was spent gettting ready for Thanksgiving – shopping for fresh vegetables at Sang Lee; ordering the turkey at King Kullen; pulling out the recipes from our mothers–stained, dog-eared, the carefully handwritten instructions now in faded ink. What treasures, these old index cards! Holding them in my hand, they restore me to a time when I stood next to my mother, each of us wearing our holiday aprons. They are a direct lifeline to the most reliable family heritage–our food.

We bought Robert wine for dinner at Jamesport Vineyards and fresh cider for us from Wickhams. I brought out the herbs harvested from this summer’s backyard garden for the dressing. All is in readiness for cooking to begin Wednesday night. I will start by making fresh cranberry sauce–one version for every preference: whole berry for Lori; with a zest of jalapeno peppers for me. Robert sticks to good old Ocean Spray. Lori and I will be up before dawn to start with the dressing. Our dressing is an ethnic fusion of Italian-German receipes. It is our day to shine as cooks.

When I was growing up the second biggest holiday after Christmas was Thanksgiving. I loved it, even though as oldest girl I was the chief dish washer, took care of the table, peeled endless potatoes, and helped my mother polish the silver days before. Like Christmas, it was a holiday we began preparing for days ahead, giving us plenty of time to anticipate the feast to come.

Like Christmas, Thanksgiving is a holiday that as you become older, is tinged bittersweet. I will remember all the people from holidays past that I miss, but I will feel their presence warmly on Thanksgiving Day. I will also remember that my Tlingit family did not celebrate Thanksgiving–there was nothing for them to be thankful for in commemorating boatloads of white people coming to their land. The survival of the pilgrims, thanks to the Indians’ humanity, heralded eventual disaster for the Indians and their descendents. Perhaps the first Thanksgiving dinner is more than a myth, and someone tried to return the hospitality before it all went wrong. The end turned out badly, regardless of eveyone’s original intentions. How often that happens!

At the old oak table, enveloped by the luscious vapers, I wil bow my head and give thanks. For my English ancestors who were doughty and brave and foolhardy, and brought their genes to this great land nine years after the Pilgrims; for the good earth, especially the wonderful farms of the North Fork; for my loved ones with me and those far away; for all the happy Thanksgivings growing up and at my house in the woods in Pennsylvania; and lastly, for the feast in front of me, which I am about to consume with gusto, delighting every sense. The fruits of the summer rain and sun are all on the table. It is with joy I take them in my mouth and make them part of me.

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2 Responses to “Getting Ready for Thanksgiving”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I am happy that someone can delight in the holidays.. I, myself, can only dread the insessant “eat, eat” or “aren’t you married yet”. The holidays aren’t wonderful for everyone… just one year I’d like to skip the feasting and enjoy everyday!
    It takes the joy out of it when both sets of Grandparents get bothered when I (and my family) either leave early or arrive late because of a previous appt with the ‘in-laws’… I pray your holidays are blessed!!! E

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Dear E, Yes, I know, holiday times can be rough and rocky. Thank you for your kind wishes. I will keep you in my good thoughts and holiday blessings. Warmly, Karen

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