I just had an awesome breakfast of tiny triangle shaped pancakes, with a couple of sausage patties… and finished my cup of coffee so I think maybe just possibly I am ready to exist in the world today. Hopefully all of my American readers had an awesome Thanksgiving, that had minimal if any awkwardness. For the rest of my readers in other parts of the world… I hope you had a good normal ordinary Thursday and are having an awesome Friday right now as well. American holidays have to be really bizarre for anyone living in the rest of the country, because we get so hyped about them… and also dominate large swaths of the internet. For me I had a really charming Thanksgiving but one that lasted quite a bit longer than normal. Several weeks ago we technically had our first Thanksgiving with my wife’s father. Traditionally we have a dual Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, because they head down south for the winter immediately following. For whatever reason they wanted to get an early start, so we had it several weeks ago.
Then this week we started our official festivities on Wednesday night around 7 pm. I’ve been without grandparents for a few years now, and there was this period where most of us simply did not know what to do for the holidays without that glue to hold the family together. That said lately there has been much effort in trying to make it work again. When my Grandfather on my Dad’s side passed away, my Aunt ended up with the house, and she has done this amazing job of renovating it to make it feel modern and cozy again. While Grandfather didn’t really like change much, I feel like Grandma would have loved it and even more than that she would be tickled pink that we were still all pulling together for Christmas and Thanksgiving in their home. The end result are these adorably charming meals that we have with my folks, my aunt and her husband, and my cousins. It always has this feel like we are going away to a cabin or something like that, when I know it really isn’t the case at all. I am really happy that at least a bit of normality has returned to the traditions on that side. On my Mother’s side however things are still sorting themselves out.
The Important Meal
Then yesterday during the noon meal, we met with the family on my Wife’s mothers side. This was a considerably larger group of people, and anytime there are large gatherings my anxiety starts going into overtime. It was however really charming as well, and the food… was amazing. I am really particular about food… and generally speaking I do not like spiral sliced hams, because in my experience they tend to be on the dry side. Whatever they did to the spiral sliced ham they had… it ended up juicy and moist and amazing. From all accounts… all they did was “follow the directions” so maybe that has been the problem all along? Similarly they said they followed the directions on the Turkey and it wound up amazingly juicy as well. I am guessing they may just have some magic touch because seriously… everything we ate yesterday was phenomenal. One thing I do find funny is how recipes that started out on the back of packages… have become Thanksgiving staples. The meal isn’t complete without Green Bean Casserole for example… and we had the cheesy sour cream potato bake thing too that also started on the back of some product package. It makes me wonder how many of these dishes have been marketed to us as simply a way to sell their product in an otherwise slow period of the year.
Another big discussion from yesterday was the whole stores opening on Thanksgiving day bit. One of the questions my wife and I had was that most of the stores didn’t open until that evening. There has been a lot of gnashing of teeth on social media about this practice of opening on Thanksgiving day hurting families. However what we wondered was… is it regional which meal of the day is important? Growing up the only important meal on Thanksgiving is the noon meal, and dinner generally speaking is “fend for yourself” from leftovers. This was the way in both sides of my family, and the same for all sides of my wife’s split family. So obviously in our region the important meal is Lunch, which makes me wonder… are there some regions where the important meal is the evening meal? The other side line discussion was how everyone seems to be concerned about big box stores opening on Thanksgiving… but no one was ever really been concerned about the Walgreens of the world, the Restaurants and the Convenience stores. Those have always been open on Thanksgiving, and none of those folks have ever gotten to spend the holidays with their family. Similarly my nephew has to bail early as he is a Police officer and was just about to work a shift.
The thing I am most thankful of this year is the fact that I did not have to suffer through any cringe worthy borderline racist or sexist conversations! Everyone was happy and healthy and seemingly stable… and we had a nice meal with some nice conversation all around. There were absolutely zero occurrences of verbal sparring about this sports team or this product being better than another one. We simply had a nice meal, and got lots of hugs from people we don’t see as often as we would like. Once again there wre promises to get together more often, and I really hope we can follow through with them. On the earliest thanksgiving we did make plans to meet up for dinner once a month on the first Friday of the month. I think maybe we are going to make that one happen this year, because we have a timeline to follow. The others… I hope we can sort something out because it is sad that most of the family lives within an hour of each other, but we only ever see them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. All in all it was a pretty great year, and I am hoping that each of you had a similarly great Thanksgiving. My thoughts go out to the folks who are working retail today, and I am hoping you all stay safe and sane.. are getting hazard pay… and didn’t forget to pack your riot gear.