Thanksgiving, Black Fridays, and other Colorful aspects to the weekend
Let me just steal a phrase from my daughter. A long time ago, in a far off place, after a particularly wonderful Thanksgiving feast my daughter (who was 6 or 7 at the time) coined a phrase for our family. As she pushed away from the remains of that joyful dinner she announced “she was going to have a food baby”. Damned if I don’t feel that right this moment. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving my daughter and her family came to visit and share a pre-Thanksgiving Feast. They showed up late Tuesday afternoon to spend that evening and all day Wednesday with us. My wife and daughter immediately started cooking Tuesday evening, making desserts for the following day. They created a wonderful pecan pie, and pumpkin cake which was to die for. Of course they made this stuff at 9 pm on Tuesday night and no one was allowed to have it until dessert Wednesday. The way these items made the house smell, well let’s just say I can drool in my sleep.
On Wednesday at 430pm the feast began. But it took a ton of prep work which started around 1000am when my wife made the most delicious stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer. The rest of the meal was orchestrated by my wife, counting time wise backwards from 430pm. Each item on the menu (turkey breasts, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls, pear and blue cheese salad (great), broccoli casserole, and of course cranberry sauce) was prepared and staged. Cooking times were checked to verify needed time in relation to other items, and the food was staged accordingly to ensure that everything was ready for consumption by the appointed time (hot stuff hot, and cool stuff cool). And as if by magic the meal was in fact was ready for the full on Thanksgiving feast. Throughout the cooking process we had a continuous cleaning process ongoing. So at the appointed time to sit down to dinner, there wasn’t 2 tons of cookware to be cleaned after dinner. It was a truly amazing feast and feat. My wife, bless her heart had about 3 five-minute breaks throughout the entire process. I was lucky I was on clean up detail, having to bust butt in short bursts, but the effort paid off. I did most of the post dinner clean up so I contributed significantly to the meal.
We gathered at the table, Stu my son-in-law, said a wonderful blessing, and the consumption started. It was one of the best meals ever. Conversation was great, and even I opened my mouth for something other than another bite of food. All the energy, stress, timing, preparation, and beforehand clean up paid huge dividends. My hats off to the chefs (wife and daughter). The worst thing about the meal was that it only took 25 minutes to finish. We were all stuffed to the gills, and some of us were in fact ready to have “food babies”.
Our pre-Thanksgiving wasn’t quite over. Allison and her family were gracious to volunteer to put up our Christmas Tree and decorate it for us. Stu was in charge of decorating and did a tremendous job. He has a flair for it, and I believe it comes from being the youngest in his family, and enjoying the Christmas process for such a long time. The final step to the Thanksgiving Celebration was the watching of the movie “White Christmas”. Stu snoozed on one sofa, Steph was in her chair, and I shared the other couch with Allison and my granddaughter. My granddaughter is 7, I would say it is safe to say, as a family I have seen “White Christmas” 25 times since she was old enough to watch movies. In total I have seen “White Christmas” maybe 100 times. At the conclusion of the movie, Allison and her family gathered their belongings and headed home, so they could continue in their own family Thanksgiving tradition. Which I am sure included watching “White Christmas” yet again.
On Thanksgiving Day, Steph and I continued our new Thanksgiving tradition, of joining the usual suspects at Laura’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. Steph and I have been involved in this dinner for 10 years. Laura always hosts the meal, and does 95 pct of the prep work herself. The menu for Laura’s dinner was almost the exact same as the meal we shared with Allison and family. There were a couple minor differences, one was we had a shrimp cocktail as an appetizer, (Steph shared our stuffed mushrooms) and a corn pudding side dish. This meal had one added benefit, our local neighborhood cake and pastry master brought us some homemade desserts that were to die for. The meal was tremendous the conversation wonderful. This year’s meal was shared by 8 of us. I am sure that Laura (Steven, Laura’s brother, did help) put as much time and effort into creating the meal as my wife and daughter did for ours. And this meal represented yet another opportunity to have a “food baby”.
Over the years the group has been as large as 18, to a year when it was only two. It is a community family that we love, and spend most of the major holidays with, each family hosting a different Holiday.
The meal itself was just as wonderful as the one created by Steph and Allison, and as much as I love Laura, and as great a job she does in putting together such a wonderful meal. My wife’s is better, but not by much.
The eating has continued. I have consumed turkey and leftovers on Friday and Saturday, and as much as I love this meal, 4 days in a row is quite enough.
With the arrival of Thanksgiving comes for me the dreaded “Black Friday” where in the past the tradition has been for all the major and minor, and even the tiny stores all open at some point just past midnight, so shoppers can get those magical super sale prices on items of particular interest. I have never been “black Friday” shopping, and I never intend on going. Watching the news reports in the past has shown many of our collective nasty habits: the pushing, shoving, yelling, stealing, stomping and general ugliness that greed has a way of creating, has been spotlighted time and time again. But this year, corporate greed has taken yet another step forward. Apparently opening at midnight isn’t good enough for one of our largest chains. They insisted on opening on Thanksgiving Day, giving themselves and opportunity to squeeze yet another penny from people. I suppose soon they will be calling Thanksgiving Day the gray shopping day, getting a jump on black Friday, and red Saturday and internet Monday, and on and on and on. Hell it’s bad enough that Christmas stuff is on the floor of almost every store before Halloween (but no later than November 1), but could our businesses get any more greedy. Yes I understand that these sales are supposedly good for our economy, but when a family barely has a pot to ….. in, is enticing them out to buy stuff on credit the right answer? For those of you that can afford to go and spend on Black Friday, or gray Thanksgiving or any of the other hyped up Christmas pre-sales more power to you, and I truly hope you got that special gift and an extremely good price. I do hope all that waiting in line paid off.
Okay, I will get off my soapbox.
Thank you for taking the time to read my posts, and offer any and all comments, I do appreciate it greatly. — Bill