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November 24, 2006

Giving Thanks

There is a joke in David's family that every Thanksgiving is "the best Thanksgiving ever." That is what David's grandmother Edith used to say, no matter how much of a disaster the meal was. These days, someone always says it in Edith's honor and memory. But this year, I think it really was true.

Maybe it's just because I wasn't cooking or cleaning up, but this was the most relaxed and least stressful Thanksgiving I have experienced in a long time. My dad drove up from Pittsburgh, and he and David and I arrived at David's mom's around 2:30; we ate when the food was ready, and spent the rest of the evening sitting around kibbitzing about sports, country music, and biodiesel fuel. My poor dad, who doesn't follow sports, listen to country music, or drive a diesel-powered vehicle, felt a bit out of place at first, especially when, on hearing that he lives in Pittsburgh, David's aunt, uncle, and cousin asked if he is a Joe Pa fan. Dad had no idea what they were talking about; his football team is the Steelers. But he reached deep within himself and rediscovered his teenage fandom for the Green Bay Packers and for the Dodgers (he spent his adolescence in Wisconsin, then moved to Los Angeles for high school), the appreciation of Willie Nelson shared by all decent human beings, and his concern for the environment. At that point, he fit right in.

In the midst of this lively conversation, we also had a fantastic meal. My vegetable dish was a hit (between the nine of us, we ate about two pounds of veggies!), the turkey was moist, and the rolls were burned, which is apparently a family tradition. The best part was when the burnt rolls took flight: Everyone had just about finished eating, when David's Uncle Bob commented that he hadn't had any rolls. David's mom, Chris, sitting at the opposite end of the table, tossed him a roll. Bob missed, so Chris threw another and another. Bob blocked the third one, which went flying back across the table and hit Chris! By the time we cleared the dishes, there were rolls strewn across the floor. I used to make fun of David's family for eating the same Thanksgiving foods year after year after year, but last night it occurred to me that, when you eat the same foods over and over, you develop memories and traditions surrounding them. In David's family, the most legendary Thanksgiving dish is the French Silk Pie from Baker's Square. As children, David, Mike, and their cousins always wanted some but weren't allowed to have it -- their parents told them it was a grown-up pie, and kept it for themselves! So now, when the FSP comes out, the younger generation teases the older generation about having hogged the pie in the past. Last night we had five desserts: three pies, a pumpkin cake, and a box of clementines for me. David and I left loaded down with yummy leftovers -- it will be Thanksgiving in our house for the next month at least!

Posted by eklanche at November 24, 2006 09:10 AM

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