We spend days preparing for the meal, hours shopping, weeks are spent cleaning. Then we spend hours cooking the food, putting immense amounts of love and care into each and every dish. We want it to be perfect. We’ve spent more than we could really afford on this single expression of our love and affection for our family and friends. We got up at dawn and started preparing for that meal that will make its glorious and very theatrical appearance at 4 pm.
Our day probably looked like this.
- 6 am alarm goes off
- 6:30 am drag overtired and grumpy self to kitchen and blearily start the coffeemaker.
- 6:45 choke down a cup of coffee and glare at the turkey, daring it to have anything to say
- 6:55 Begin mixing the dressing.
- 7:05 Take turkey to sink to remove giblets and wash inside of the abdominal cavity. Drain turkey and hoist it to the roasting pan regions.
- 7:10 Stuff the stuffing into the bird’s abdominal cavity & under neck.
- 7:20 Rub bird down with seasonings. Insert thermometer probe.
- 7:25 Put bird into oven and set timer
- 7:45 wash dishes
- 7:55 Peel a ton of sweet potatoes
- 8:30 Peel a ton of white potatoes
- 9:00 Put potatoes on to boil
- 9:10 Put sweet potatoes in pan, add sugar & butter & put in oven
- 9:15 Put giblets & neck on to boil
- 9:20 Pour another cup of coffee and snarl at family members
- 9:30 Wash dishes
- 10:00 Put canned baked beans in pan with more brown sugar and bacon. Put in oven.
- 10:15 Put table cloth on table
- 10:20 Put centerpiece on table
- 10:30 Set table
- 10:45 Snarl at family members and pour cup of coffee
- 11:15 Mix up “Green Stuff” and put in refrigerator
- 11:30 peel more sweet potatoes and put on to boil
- 12:00 check sweet potatoes
- 12:10 snarl at family members and get another cup of coffee
- 12:30 mix up home made bread dough
- 12:55 Put dough to raise
- 1:00 Check turkey, sweet potatoes & baked beans.
- 1:15 Mash boiled sweet potatoes, mix with other ingredients for sweet potato casserole. Put in oven
- 1:30 Mix green bean casserole, set aside
- 1:40 Punch down dough and shape dinner rolls
- 1:50 Do dishes
- 1:55 Take baked beans out of oven
- 1:58 Put green bean casserole into oven
- 2:00 Remove sweet potatoes from oven
- 2:03 Put sweet potato casserole in oven
- 2:05 Do dishes
- 2:15 make cranberry sauce
- 2:30 mince boiled giblets for giblet gravy
- 3:00 mash potatoes & set aside to reheat in microwave later
- 3:30 remove turkey from oven
- 3:31 put dinner rolls in oven
- 3:32 Do dishes
- 3:40 make turkey giblet gravy
- 3:55 Put turkey on platter
- 3:58 Remove rolls from oven & place in bread baskets
- 4:00 put all dishes on table
- 4:30 Remove all dirty dishes from table
- 4:40 Package all leftover food & place in refrigerator
- 4:50 Bone turkey & package for refrigeration
- 5:00 Do dishes
- 5:30 Wonder what you were thinking about when you said yes to hosting this dinner
Is that all its about? Is it a foodie holiday in disguise? That isn’t what the intention of the holiday really is about, but that’s what it has degenerated into. A food gorging holiday. Football. Family irritating everyone around them.
That also equates to if you don’t have turkey on that day, you are a failure of some flavor. It’s worse yet if you can’t afford that kind of feasting, as then your inability to provide for yourself and your family has assumed massive proportions of demerits. You are a loser, or should we say LOSER!
Thanksgiving is about sharing what we have, making do without what we don’t, but most of all, appreciating what we DO have, rather than our deficits. Maybe our dinner is a Banquet turkey dinner, a grilled turkey burger, a slice of Spam fried crisp and served on buttered bread with an egg on the side…or potato soup. It doesn’t matter what we eat. Or what we don’t eat.
It doesn’t matter who isn’t at the table, whether due to death, divorce, break up, military service, distant jobs, distant schools, or not even knowing why someone is no longer a part of your life. It isn’t about the people either, in one sense.
Its about realizing what you have going for YOU. It’s about looking on the bright side of things, rather than focusing on the deficits we all beat ourselves up over every single day.
Its about being thankful that you are capable of reading this blog entry on the internet…not only that you had the education so that you were literate, but that you had the wherewithal to be able to get on the internet and a computer to use, even if it is borrowed.
It’s about being thankful that you are healthy enough to read this too. It doesn’t matter if you are disabled, sick, injured, maimed, deformed, or whatever. You are healthy enough to read this, and healthy enough that you are alive.
It’s about being thankful that you have people to miss being at your table, whether they are family or friends. You remember them, you remember what you shared, and it was special enough that you wish for more of it. Missing them is because there was something special about that person to miss, and you recognized it. The reason for their absence isn’t important, nor is it important whether its permanent absence or just a temporary one. You are capable of missing them this year.
Its about being thankful for the food all year that you ate and that kept you alive. Maybe it was good food, and maybe not so good food…but it did its job. You are alive.
Its about being thankful that you are lonely…or not. It’s a great gift to have had someone in your life that made you realize that you were lonely without them, even if you can’t share your life with them, for whatever reason. It’s an equally great gift to not be lonely, and to have special people in your life to share it.
Its about being thankful that you can be thankful. Being thankful that your eyes opened this morning is one step. We have many more to be thankful for as our day progresses.
If you have to work, be thankful you have a job. Many people don’t.
If you are fortunate enough that you don’t have to work today, be thankful for that. Many people have worked one year after another, for each and every holiday, forced by economic situations to make the most of holiday overtime.
The perfect Thanksgiving is any thanksgiving celebration that you choose to have. Whether its bowing your head over a vast turkey feast or a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich, its the realization that no matter how irritated you are with your own life…your life is not that bad and you have plenty to be thankful for.
As the sayings say, don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t worry about small minds. You are bigger than that, you are more fortunate than you often realize, and for that…be thankful.