Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

When I was growing up, my mother and grandmother traded off cooking on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was basically the same meal - with the same recipes. We just had it once at our house in Hurst, Texas and the other time at my grandparents' house in Dallas. After my grandfather died in 1978, my mother and grandmother decided to join forces for the Christmas meal and that we would go out for Thanksgiving.

It seems strange now to go out to eat for Thanksgiving, but we did it for years. Big hotels in Dallas have huge spreads on Thanksgiving. Everything from turkey and dressing to sushi and giant boiled shrimp. Salads and deserts. It's ridiculous. And the price is ridiculous as well. My grandmother, who was always a very light eater, had lived through the depression and hated the idea of my father spending thirty or thirty-five bucks (it's probably much more now) on what would amount to a small plate of food for her. Always a generous, somewhat-extravagant man, my father encouraged her to eat what she wanted and not worry about it.

When I moved to New York City, I went to Texas for Thanksgiving once, in about 1992. I don't like spending holidays in Texas. I would rather spend holidays at home. For a few years, I went to the apartment of a friend of my boyfriend, Tom. Sal, a nice Italian guy. We had to agree to spend the whole day there. It was a great time. Lots of people in the fashion (retail) world and lots of other fabulous people. Tom and I were way out of our element, but we always had a very nice time. They dropped brand names and Tom and I smiled and nodded. I think we knew what they were talking about, but the names didn't ring the same in our ears.

When Tom and I broke up, my friend, Patty, suggested that I fly out to Ohio to spend Thanksgiving with her family. That was seven years ago. I've been coming here ever since. The first couple of years, we all made the trek to Tennessee to her parents' house. Of course we had a great time there, but it's a long drive and it was always a little exhausting to get off the plane from NYC and jump into the car for a six hour drive.

I'm generally pretty screwed up by jetlag and by my natural need to get up early and do something before the house begins vibrating with activity. This morning I was out of bed at 4:45. That was a little bit much, but there's a lot to do today. Fred got up at 9:30. I'd like to think that I will be able to take a nap, but I wonder now. We'll see.

At some point, I'll need to pick out a song for karaoke. And I've got to do some preparation for work on Monday. We played Celebrity last night, which was a ton of fun. Patty's two sons and three extra kids played. Our team lost, but that's sort of not what it's about, huh?

This is the kind of Thanksgiving that I think people talk about and remember. It's a big house with lots of snack food and kids and you walk around and talk and play games and watch tv and knit. It's just hanging out with people you love. I'm not relaxed enough around my family to do that. I'm not even sure that they are that relaxed around each other to do that. Family is a strange thing. Mine is a particularly odd mix of people.

At any rate, I like to think that I will return to Patty's house every year for Thanksgiving no matter where I am in the world. It's been my favorite holiday for years, ever since the years at Sal's. It's a pity that not everyone's Thanksgiving is like this and that everyone in the world doesn't have this holiday. It's Christmas without the pressure of presents. It's hanging out and eating. It's American Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful.


Anonymous said...

And a happy Thanksgiving - hope you're having/have had fun.


Mama Mojo said...

Happy Thanksgiving! It sounds like a great time!