Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Are you anxious?

That's what Jed asked me this morning as I poured my morning coffee half into my cup and half onto the counter.

"About what," I responded absently as I grabbed for a towel to clean it up.

"You know. Thanksgiving. Having everybody here for dinner."

I wonder what he must think of me: A nervous bundle of energy that would rather hide under a rock than endure one more conversation about gastro-intestinal malfunction or play another game of "guess who has a terminal illness" with my family at the dinner table.

All of that is true, but it doesn't mean I don't enjoy sitting down to a triptofan laden meal with them, waiting for digestion to usher me gently into a sleepy lull.

No. Anxiety really isn't an affliction I harbor during Thanksgiving.

To me, the Thanksgiving holiday is an easy one. Food holidays usually are. We pop a turkey into the oven in the morning; pour some chicken stock into stale bread cubes and seasonings a few hours later, set it to bake underneath the bird; and put a pot of potatoes on to boil. In a few hours the smells come together in that old familiar way.

My parents always bring the pies, dinner rolls and a host of other odd snacks. (This year's head scratcher, my dad explained this afternoon after he stopped by the bakery, is bran and corn muffins). No one ever cares if the turkey is dry or the stuffing isn't crispy on the top.

However, had our plans been as we'd planned months ago, I'd probably be angsty as all get-out. If that Thanksgiving plan had progressed we'd already be in Texas gearing up for the extended family olympics, a once in a decade event, usually held in some semi-exotic location no where near anyone's home, that brings Jed's father's side of the family together for silly games, unpronounceable cocktails and basement-scoured awards.

Air travel, cranky toddler, unfamiliar location, distant family - some I've never even met - would have had me on edge until I'd gotten there and gotten into the moment, when it all would then smooth out.

It's been a trying few years for our families: there have been deaths and illnesses, job losses, moves, divorces and depressions. But there's still much to be thankful for, it is a shame the resort that had been booked to support these shenanigans closed without notice, and the games had to be boxed at the last minute.

So tomorrow, when we're sitting down to a meal of bland fare (thanks to my skills at the stove) I'll be calm and serene. I won't be worried about connecting flights or lost baggage or cancelled plans. I'll be thinking fondly of those who aren't with us and thankful for those who are.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, wherever you are.


kimmyk said...

I suck at cooking too.

But who cares if ya serve it with some liquor-they'll never notice. Or so that's my game plan.

Happy Thanksgiving!

wordgirl said...

...and that's really the point, isn't it? Good on you for having a calm holiday!

stefanierj said...

Dude, we had possibly the calmest holiday ever. except for Xmas '04, which was three weeks before D's birth. Do you think it's sad that both holidays were sans family save the three of us?