On this Thanksgiving morning I’m feeling a little hollow. Not really homesick hollow as much as tradition, family, and friend sick hollow. It’s been six years since I’ve lived in the States, so I’ve been without traditional Thanksgiving for awhile. But Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday, none of the pressure of Christmas but all the family and friend fun.
I don’t remember Thanksgivings when I was a little girl, don’t know why especially since my memory tends to be spot on. But I do remember Thanksgivings of my late teens and early twenties. They were at Mother’s house and since it was only her, sometimes my brother, and me, we invited stragglers over. Usually, her two BFFs and their children if they were around. And then random other stragglers. There was the 80+ year old former journalist who was great for story telling, having interviewed Cesar Chavez, Margaret Thatcher, and my personal favorite, WB Yeats (the man met Yeats!). He was mischievous and you know I like mischievous old people. Always a twinkle in his eye sipping his dry martini in his baggy jeans and birkenstocks.
And a after her mother passed away, a close friend of mine, her Father, and Grandmother would join us. The Grandmother was also 80+ and I think she thought it was a fix up the first time she met the mischievous old journalist. The two couldn’t have been more different, she was a lady from a forgotten time of white gloves and pearls, and she would look on in horror as he told us stories of cooking food on trash can lids on the beach in South America. But they managed to get along famously and would still be sitting around the table drinking while the rest of us passed out in the living room. But thinking back, it could have been that they were just too old and tired to move.
I’ve only cooked one Thanksgiving dinner myself. It was nine years ago, and the same friend with the lady-like grandmother and I were sharing a house. I had use of Mother’s massive dining room table so we decided to play grown up and give it a go. Dinner was for ten people, quite an undertaking for two Thanksgiving novices but we were eager and excited, although way over our heads with the menu we had planned. I really need to stop taking menu planning tips from In Style magazine. But during all that fabulous In Style menu planning I had forgotten about having to clean out and stuff the turkey. That became the friend’s job. If she just did that, I would take care of everything else. The memory of her face as she squirmed and slipped her hands inside that turkey is priceless and I curse myself for not having a photo of it.
The whole thing was quite a learning experience, I never knew my feet could swell to that size. But somehow we managed to pull it off. And as we all sat around the table, we would take turns saying something that we were thankful for. But being young and cheeky, I decided to turn it into a drinking game. After someone said something they were thankful for, we would toast and take a swig of wine. After about the sixth thankfulness, the lady-like grandmother piped up in her shaky aristocratic voice, “why are we doing this?” And her son in law replied, “because we are being thankful, drink” and she did.
Thanksgiving doesn’t mean much in France, but sure, why would it, not their holiday. When I told the Boyfriend that I was sad to be missing Thanksgiving and asked if he knew the story behind Thanksgiving, he replied “yes, it’s because the slaves were freed.”
I want a turkey and I don’t even like turkey. I want to fall asleep on the couch watching football, American football, not soccer football. I want a cozy house full of lots of family and friends and a meal that lasts for hours. But that is just not happening today. Today, everyone is at work, and tomorrow too. But I couldn’t let the day go unmarked so Honey Jr and the Spaniard are coming over for dinner. And I’m going to make them take turns saying what they are thankful for. I won’t understand them, but I’m sure it will be fun anyway.
P.S. That turkey in the picture was not cooked by me. Like you didn’t know that