The leftover turkey has been rationed out to post -Thanksgiving sandwiches, the table cloth has been washed and put away, and all that remains of the holiday are two pies, a fluted rim of crust still intact half way around their pie plates and their middles completely devoured animal-style and left on the counter like carcasses in the Serengeti. I admit, I am part responsible for their demise—not fully, of course—but I may have stabbed the first fork past the clean lines of the last cut, giving permission for others to follow. It’s just that I “didn’t want a whole piece” and besides, it’s the only way to steal the best parts of the pie—the sugary-est crust and the plumpest cherries.
Speaking of sugary crust, I’d now like to break into my top ten favorites about Thanksgiving, thank you.
10. The juxtaposition of cold tart cranberry relish against warm and filling stuffing and potatoes.
9. A table set with all the pretties and more chairs and plates than it’s made for.
8. The kitchen chaos that erupts 10 minutes before we eat. Bodies everywhere, dishes clanking, silverware drawers yanked open. “I need another serving spoon!” “Where’s the gravy bowl?” “Did you put the salt and pepper out?” “Shut that timer off!” I love it all—the perfect reverse of calm before the storm. It melts into such beauty once everyone’s called to the table.
7. Traditions. Nine years (if I recall correctly) of pajama breakfasts with our neighbors. Parade. Football. Cherry Pie. The way my mother-in-law asks every single year before she pours hot gravy into my glass gravy dish, “Ya sure this isn’t crystal? Because one time I did this in a crystal dish and it shattered everywhere.” Same dish, still not crystal. Calls and texts to and from family, recounting everyone’s day. Pictures of snowy backyards sent from the north. Pictures of palm fronds and sunshine sent back.
6. Brett’s holiday and tradition enthusiasm that matches mine.
5. Kitchen clean-up, following the antiquated routines of menfolk relaxing in the living room while womenfolk wash dishes in the kitchen, but we’re cool with it. Post-Thanksgiving meal is one of the rare occasions where cleaning up the kitchen after a big meal is actually fun, performed assembly-line style and accompanied by much laughter. And then pie.
4. A full house. People. On my couches. In my kitchen. Hovering around the barstools. Gathering at the table. Picking at the appetizers. Staying well past the declaration that “we should probably leave soon.” Let my people stay (as Moses almost said had things been a little better in Egypt).
3. The fact that you feel like you are well into vacation mode on the morning of Thanksgiving and yet you know that you still have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to go.
2. Making pies with my girls, aprons, flour dust everywhere.
1. Thanksgiving Grace. I kept my eyes open during grace and scanned the room this year, and it felt a little bit like being the only one awake to watch the sun rise. I matched words and thankful phrases with the people and scene before me and retraced the moment over in my brain so it would stick.
And now, here we are, December.
Thanks to a nice collection of holiday mishaps and boo-boos, I’ve rewritten the words to 12 Days of Christmas. I won’t sing the whole thing for you, but it does include “4 princess Band-aids, 3 bloody tissues, 2 antibiotics and a (this part, with gusto!) chair slip and a cheek scab.” But that was November, and along with Brett’s Movember ‘stache, we have shaved it off and moved on.
Hey Nella, where’s Santa?
We said goodbye to our old Frosty this year. After many years of service, his electrical parts have called it quits and after a few minutes with Dash, so has his exterior. As of this morning, his head was wedged between two palm trees and his bottom half was peering out from a bush a few feet away.
He served some good years.
Lots of twinkly, crafty, gifty, homey, festive things to come. It’s DECEMBER!