Thanksgiving State of Mind

there seem to be two kinds of thanksgiving people: traditionalists and adventurers. traditionalists want the exact same food each and every year and in fact, spend most of the year dreaming of their thanksgiving meal. adventurers dream up new meals each year with new recipes and maybe even new concepts. i’ll bet most of us are in-between the two extremes and like some things every year while looking forward to some new ideas.

whatever your food type, thanksgiving is one of a few american holidays that all of us can share regardless of heritage or background. in fact, bringing your heritage or background to the thanksgiving meal is what makes it all that much more interesting and delicious.

people who have lived many places across america already know the concept of a making a holiday wherever you are. i only basically lived in states in my life — california and pennsylvania—but at a few addresses in each state. but no matter where i was on thanksgiving, i’ve always been able to make a holiday celebration out of just about nothing.

my first thanksgiving in pa when i couldn’t get back to california, i invited housemates, acquaintances, neighbors and anyone who wanted/needed a place to go for thanksgiving over and i cooked for them. though they were grateful for my hospitality, it was really me who was the beneficiary because all that cooking and fussing for guests distracted me from feeling lonely and homesick.

i met c in september of the next year, so he invited me to his parents’ house for thanksgiving the next year, which is where we have been going for almost all the years since.

the exception was thanksgiving of 2010 when i was temporarily living in texas with our daughter and her husband while she recovered from a bone marrow transplant at md anderson cancer center. c flew down with our other daughter and son so we could all be together at thanksgiving.

l and i decorated with paper turkeys and crepe paper and tried to set a nice table with whatever this and that was in the church supported apartment. we decided that since we weren’t in pa, we might as well change up the meal and go with some local flair. and, since texas is known for bbq, we bought a smoked turkey from one of the best bbq places in tx and made side dishes to compliment the smoked turkey. we made whatever we could in the tiny, scantily equipped kitchen and bought the rest.

the meal was delicious but the fact of us all being together and that our daughter was doing well in her recovery was what made that thanksgiving wonderful. the smoked turkey? not so much.

so no matter what you fancy on thanksgiving – a traditional feast or an adventurous new twist on classics there is only one wish for the day: a holiday full of thanks and good will, delicious food and most of all a moment of reflection.


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