Great Green Bean Casserole,
You know that Thanksgiving is near when you dream of rain being a gig undo green bean casserole being turned upside down in the sky and the raindrops appear as green beans and a smog layer of mushroom soup.
The last few days, the last thing I tolerated was the thought of food. Yes, you know I must be sick.
Food is never far from my mind. Even eating healthier, it is on my mind, Many of my friends and I find ourselves eating one meal while talking about our next.
Food glorious food.
But when you get the stomach crud, the thought of food sours.
I have been very self-involved with my sickness, (poor me),but, hopefully, I am rounding the corner and heading towards home. Can’t help but think of Joe Nuxhall.
I still can’t say that the sound of food exalts me right now, but it is time to talk turkey.
I had great plans for Thanksgiving at our house this year. I made trees, decorated and was excited about having 3 out of 4 kids and their families here.
But as you know, life happens. Relationships sour and go limp in the night. You get sick. Someone hides the cheese and poof, there go the plans.
I could fret about that but what good what that do? My son and daughter-in-law jumped in to host Thanksgiving, taking the work off of us. One daughter went home to find solace in her dog, home and friends. Out other daughter and her husband are arriving late tonight and she has volunteered to do our shopping and cooking, if necessary. (offer accepted)
Our second oldest son will be in Ohio with his family, and they will be missed.
So, is it a Hallmark scene?
No. Hallmark skewers reality and seems expectations that are hard to meet.
But, still we carry on with those who are here, and hope and pray that those who aren’t with us feel our love and know we are thinking about them.
Usually, I am busy in the kitchen, Macy’s Day Parade in the background. There is dicing and slicing, sautéing, stirring, mixing, baking, steaming, mashing … and the inherent smells that go with all of those things.
Is there a better smell than bacon frying or onions sautéing in bacon fat?
Then, there is that moment when the house starts smelling like roast turkey.
People set tables with thought, bathrooms are cleaned, pillows are fluffed, and the bowls of nuts are placed on the counter.
Or maybe you are going to someone else’s house and you make the pies or the vegetables or the recipe that was your mother’s or grandmother’s, that should simply be named, “Tradition.”
Bellies are hungry for tasty food and hearts are eager to feel wanted … to feel welcome and loved.
There are hopes of laughter and good cheer amidst the cheers of the football game crowd. Will anyone dare utter the word, Trump? Will anyone remember the name Hillary?
Let’s hope not. For one day, let sleeping dogs, lie.
Of course, in the Hallmark version, all of the relatives get along and want to be together. Conversation is easy and no one gets sloshed and asked to leave.
In real life? Eh. Families will be families. People will be people. Those who are only genetically woven together, must figure out to act interested in being with people they don’t choose to be at other times.
I think most of us, as children, teenagers, adults, mothers and fathers, have been there. We watch family dynamics and pray that somehow, someway, there will be this wonderful, unforgettable feeling of togetherness and family and love.
Sometimes it happens.
Often, it doesn’t.
I used to try to “Make things work.”
Now, I am more inclined to, “Let things happen.”
What will be will be. One day, this announced holiday, where expectations can be enormously high, is not the only indicator of love and family strength.
Sometimes holidays suck. I have those in my family who get really stressed by the thought of a holiday. They, as I say, get the vapors.
I understand that. It is difficult to be “on” when a calendar dictates … unless you are a Broadway performer.
So … here is the year of the “Keeping It Real” version of Thanksgiving and Christmas and whatever holidays you celebrate.
Give yourself a break … (keep expectations of others relatively low).
The holiday shouldn’t be a judgement of the excellence of your parenting or family’s love for each other.
See and make your own inner holiday in your mind … and loosen up on what others do or don’t do.
Be grateful for the quirky, goofy, wonderful, neurotic, humanity challenged, politically incorrect, dysfunctional people in your family and life.
Laugh at yourself.
Wear stretchy pants.
Seriously, for me, everyday is Thanksgiving. There is something good about waking up and getting another chance. In other words, the real Thanksgiving is everyday … the 4th Thursday in November is simply our family’s attempt to put on a show.