Thanksgiving is only a few days away. For me, dread is beginning to step in. Not about the rush of shoppers at the market, or the seating chart at our family gathering.
No, for me, Thanksgiving is the gateway holiday. It’s a gateway for good and evil.
To begin with, let me explain the evil: Food, glorious food. It’s like a drug that gradually gets its grip on you. For example, first there’s an innocent glance at a high calorie recipe for pecan pie. Then there’s the late night download of said recipe, complete with a color photo. One thing leads to another, and BAM! I’m at a store where a man dressed as a box boy pushes a cart in my direction. The next thing I know, I’m moving stealthily through the aisles reading labels on corn syrup and toying with angel flake coconut, as I glance side to side to see if my latching onto the white stuff is noticed.
Quickly, shopping gets out of control. And before you know it, there are cranberries and croutons in the cart, followed by Reddi Whip and chocolate chips. I can hardly stand it! In go boxes of lime Jell-o, walnuts and marshmellows . . . fruit cocktail . . . brownie mixes and ice cream. Somebody stop me!
And don’t let me see a cooking show with Martha Stewart, the Walter White of PBS. Evil incarnate. Somebody better stop her!
No don’t! My taste buds are in charge and euphoria from folding-in and stirring tempting treats awaits. I’m doomed to repeat last year’s feast where I coericed family members into coming over to share in the devouring of ‘traditional favorites’–code for delicious dishes that cause drooling and untimely sampling. Then eat and repeat. Repeat until you nap. Roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, Magic Cookie squares.
All these are only precursors to an even more lavish, addictive dinner in December. You know what I’m talking about.
And now, the good:
It’s all coming back to me now. Last year’s feasting with family and friends; all that joy around a bountiful table that contributes to giddiness and audible Mmm’ing and Ahh’ing, and most importantly: memory making, in a Norman Rockwell painting sort of way.
The best part is when several generations are able to be in one home at the same time. Some travel from great distances, and their arrival evokes sentimentality rivaling a birth. Many faces nearly shatter from grinning non-stop. At least a few shed tears.
The finale is a prayer uttered, perhaps, by the senior most member of the family. It’s the sharing of gratitude–expressions of thankfulness for health, companionship and love.
As you start this week, don’t let shopping, meal preparation and fear of over indulging in food keep you from indulging in precious moments.
Besides, when you eat with friends and family the calories don’t count!