Oh, yadda yadda, blah blah. Do you want to know what I’m really thankful for? I’m really thankful that my niece Heather and her husband Sam have taken over hosting our family Thanksgiving celebration at their home. Their home, not mine. Yay! With 70 right around the corner for me, I’d rather Thanksgiving be at the home of someone who’s not me. I did it for years, and while it was a pleasure in many ways, it took weeks of preparation: planning what to serve, shopping, cleaning, polishing, putting up special decorations, and so forth.
I did lots of hunting for dishware. I never remembered where my holiday stuff was from year to year and would have to rifle through all my cupboards. I would get down on the kitchen floor with a flashlight to search the cupboard under the stove, looking for my casserole dish with the warming candle unit underneath, my butter dish with the turkey-shaped cover, my orange-red-and-gold leaf-shaped appetizer dish, and other favorite holiday things. And after I found those, there was the tablecloth and matching napkins to be ironed, last-minute cleaning…it never ended.
Most of the guests brought food, and my husband even cooked the turkey. Can you believe I have the nerve to complain? But I had the key responsibility for making sure the bird and all the accompaniments and side dishes were done at the same time. It made a nervous wreck out of me every year. And though lots of people helped with cleanup after dinner, there was always plenty left to be done the day after, and the day after the day after. Washing the linen, putting away the holiday dishes in special places that I wouldn’t remember the next year, cleaning up wine stains on the carpet…
Heather and Sam are doing an outstanding job. Sam, who is establishing himself as a world-class grill master, cooks the turkey on a great big rotating spit on his super-duper outdoor grill. It’s delicious. Out of this world, in fact. And Heather has revealed a real flair for gracious entertaining, seemingly without effort, from cooking to mingling with all the guests. She charms, she stays calm and carries on. It’s a bit humbling for me, actually. But I forgive them when, fresh and rested, I walk in their door, deposit my green bean casserole in the kitchen, then go join the other guests to chat and mingle and attack the appetizers.
I haven’t always been a grouch. I loved doing Thanksgiving when I was younger. But youth belongs to the young, and in my opinion, so does Thanksgiving. Now that I think of it, Heather has always admired my special casserole dish with the warming candle. I think I’ll give it to her as a little token of appreciation—if I can find it.