Notes on Thanksgiving…..

November 26th, 2009

Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie!Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lake Tahoe Institute of English I’ve done some complaining about Thanksgiving. I complain about all the work – at least 2 days of cooking – and the expense of putting on a dinner for so many family and friends. I’ve complained that people don’t help enough, and don’t bring enough to share. In fact, I’ve done quite a bit of complaining about Thanksgiving. And don’t even get me started on Christmas!

But, truth be told, everything I complain about is my own fault. I could do this a really simple way. I could only have my kids over. That would cut down on expense, plus, I don’t care if they see the house less than spotlessly clean. So I wouldn’t have to clean the house. And, I could just buy some frozen pies, a frozen green-bean casserole with those nasty french fried onion rings on top, get the canned cranberry sauce, whip up some boxed mashed potatoes, some Stove Top Stuffin Mix, buy a turkey injected with sodium, water and a pop-up timer, and call it a day. That wouldn’t be nearly as much effort, and not nearly as expensive.

I can’t do that, though. It just misses the entire point of Thanksgiving, in my opinion. To me, first of all, this is a celebration of family and friends, who come together near the end of the year to celebrate that we are all still here, for better or for worse. We’re here, you can count us, and count on us, we’re still standing, and celebrating having made it this far.

It is also a celebration of food. After all, it is the celebration of the pilgrim’s first successful harvest, the one that kept them alive, that kept them putting one foot in front of the other to build life on this new continent. It is a celebration of bounty, of the delicious nourishment that was brought forth through their own efforts, by their own hands. And it was no easy task!

So for me, to limit the number of people that join our family would be antithetical to the meaning of Thanksgiving, and to the meaning our family has chosen to give to our lives. In the same way, for me to take the short cuts, and buy frozen, prepared foods, would not be honoring the meaning of Thanksgiving.

I know that I am probably an obsessive cook. I like to use fresh, quality ingredients. They taste the best. They also take money and time. But today, in particular, it is worth it. It is my gift to family and friends to prepare a meal with my own hands, to prepare a bounteous feast, of homemade, incredibly delicious food. It is worth the time, the effort, and the expense, because it keeps me mindful of the gift of being alive, of being able to share an abundant meal with a large family and many friends. It keeps me aware of my good fortune to still be alive, to be eating, to be celebrating, to be putting one foot in front of the other.

Today, the guests will soon be arriving. Family, of course, from near and far, plus friends, plus we’re sharing our holiday with some students from Italy who are studying at our local college. We are so happy to introduce them to our celebration of being alive.

Today, I think, I have done my last complaining. It demeans the gift I have to give, and demeans the value of family and friendship. No more. I am happy to be here, with people that I love, and new friends. Two days spent cooking splendiferously is hardly sufficient to express the bounty of my life.

Salud! Salute! Sante! Saude! Prost! To Your Health!

2 Responses to “Notes on Thanksgiving…..”

  1. mary edwards says:

    Nice blog this one Boni! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

  2. mike willsey says:

    What an appreciation of life. Thank you for your words that, “Say it all.”

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