On this lazy holiday weekend I am thankful for daytime naps in crisp sheets, thick slices of leftover pie, long walks on these last few cold clear days we have before the rain comes, and for the thanksgiving dinner we enjoyed with our family on Thursday.
We crowded into the kitchen on Thursday with no oven schedule or pre-assigned dishes, as some families do, instead choosing our usual form of controlled chaos to cook our favorites while bumping into one another and loudly calling out our needs for a wooden spoons, milk, an oven mitt. Our parents, our hosts, flitted around taking care of each of these needs, producing an iron for the tablecloths, matches to light the fryer. We teased one another in between stealing tastes of each other’s dishes and uncorked wine before the table was set.
We stood on tables to string lights in the historic dancehall that has marked so many special occasions for our family then took the pretty vintage china plates I had collected for my wedding out from under the eaves in the barn. We washed the hay off of the china and set the table. The boys drank from cold beers while standing around the heat of the deep fryer on the deck, looking out at the misty lake and talking fishing.
The dogs followed close at our heels as we took trips to and from the kitchen and dancehall, displaying the feast of dishes that represent us: Yukon mashed potatoes made with rice milk and vegan butter, Korean style beef short ribs, smashed sugar yams with goat cheese, locally harvested venison and chanterelles, traditional corn and green bean casserole, one fried turkey and one oven roasted, flan and deep dish apple pie.
Finally all of the guests arrived and we assembled for dinner, sharing what we are thankful for this year. Each of us said family. Ours is not the Norman Rockwell, colonial and a collie ideal of the American family, but it is ours, and it has a haphazard and humorous charm of its own. And we are thankful.