Thanksgiving is next week. I can’t believe how calmly I said that.
We celebrate Thanksgiving each year at our house—and by “we” I mean twenty to forty immediate family members!
In the old days, when there were seven or eight of us sharing the holiday, the beautifully roasted turkey would take center-stage in the middle of the dining table waiting for the ceremonial (dramatic music playing in the background) carving. It was surrounded by the appropriate side dishes and condiments, with lovely serving forks and spoons of polished silver. Each person had at least two glasses included in their place-setting that rested on a lovely table linen, and their napkins were actually held, just so, in rings of appropriate autumnal materials.
We all sat together,
said “Grace” together,
and sang “We Gather Together” together!
We made Norman Rockwell proud!
Kiss those days good-bye!
Thanksgiving now begins the night before, with the female regulars coming over to peel and cut up every vegetable there is; eating pizza in-between mincing olives for the stuffed celery; arguing over using a food processor instead of knives for chopping onions for the stuffing and gravy; singing and dancing and telling stories of the “old days”; eating chocolates; and drinking wine. Drinking a lot of wine. When the wine is all gone, the evening ends.
The family has grown exponentially. And the next day, Thanksgiving:
It’s buffet-style from the kitchen counters:
Elbowing each other to get to the gravy.
Making “yuck” sounds, as one of the perhaps two people who actually like them, spoon creamed onions onto their plate.
Waiting in line to take your seat at one of the three to six tables in various rooms because the person seated at the end in the corner is still in the kitchen fixing their plate and nobody else can sit down until they do—unless everyone stands up and moves out of the way to let them through—which is not done with smiles on their faces because their food is getting cold!
Make sure you grab a napkin before somebody else takes it!
Invariably, someone says, raising their voice above the din, let’s say “Grace.” Five people actually hear them, and so a syncopated “Amen” is heard.
As the hostess, I try to join at least one or two people as I eat my always over-filled plate of turkey and everything else, before most of the clan are back in the kitchen for seconds.
Finally, when the thirty-seven desserts (I might be exaggerating a bit here) have been transformed from their initial beautiful presentations to mounds of unidentifiable mush, it’s time to do the dishes. At this point, the male family members all forget what their thumbs are for and cannot hold a dishtowel.
Through the evening, laughter is the underpinning of the chaos!
Time is not on my side at Thanksgiving, which is why you will never see an artistic vegetable tray like that pictured above anywhere near my house!
But, in the end, I know I am blessed more than most to have such a large, boisterous, loving, family to be with at this beautiful time of year. So, yeah—
Happy (early) Thanksgiving everyone. Please let me know in the comment section if you have any suggestions for keeping the craziness at a minimum this year!