Thankful for Traditions!
Joe and Cole used to prepare the Thanksgiving meal every year. Cole started learning to stuff a turkey when he was three, while being tutored in the finer points of gravy making. I was in charge of setting the table, making sure we had a dish with a lid for each dish, and persuading Joe to finally declare the meal ready, so we could all sit down and eat. We celebrate thanksgiving with a high-school buddy of Joe’s, his wife and my good friend, and their two children. We host Thanksgiving, they host Christmas Eve. Tradition!
For us, Thanksgiving is about preparing the meal together, and enjoying it at home with family, good friends and a house full of campers. When Joe died, I wondered how we would manage Thanksgiving. I don’t cook. Cole started a list. I suggested we go out for Thanksgiving. A lovely restaurant; he could have foie de gras or escargot. Cole wondered if I knew where his dad’s second stuffing recipe was; I shared with him all the lovely Thanksgiving invitations that had come our way; he wondered about Gorgonzola for the Brussels sprouts. I asked for divine intervention; “God,” I said, “people are always saying you don’t give them more than they can handle. Prove it. I don’t know nothing about cooking a turkey or making gravy. God, I don’t cook.”
God works in mysterious ways; Joe’s buddy offered to bring his son, and come to our house and make Thanksgiving dinner with Cole. This could work. Joe’s buddies wife and my good friend and their daughter would show up for dinner later in the day, and I would take care of our campers, shop, set the table, and make sure we had dishes with lids.
It worked last year, and it worked even better this year. The guys made stuffing and made sure the bird was tucked into the oven on time. All hands were on deck to peel potatoes. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law the gourmands stopped by to bring us a fabulous lemon meringue tart and enjoy a Thanksgiving martini toast. We spread a few of Joe’s cremation ashes on the front lawn TRADITION!
When the agreed-upon time arrived, our “guests” arrived, intuitively bringing exactly what I had forgotten to buy at the grocery store. We all helped put the finishing touches on dinner, sat down, toasted Joe, each other, and said my favorite prayer: “Thank you.”
Dinner took all day to prepare and less than an hour to eat, but the process was joyful, and the friendship and love were priceless.
In time, our traditions will branch out, while our hearts stay firmly rooted to family, friends, and memories. You know, the stuffing that really matters.
Share your family traditions and how they have branched out over time! Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!! I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!