92nd: Take no salt, nor cut your bread with your knife greasy.
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TRADITION: MADE TO BE BROKEN
25 November 2004
Everyone is so happy that it appears it will be sunny and clear for Thanksgiving Day and that the only rainy day this week will be Friday.
Unfortunately, we aren't celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday. Walt's sister used to have a job where her time was more her own and she was able to arrange to do some work in this area so that she could justify coming up from Santa Barbara (an 8 hour trip) a day early, visiting clients and being here for Thanksgiving. Now, however, her job has changed and she no longer has that luxury.
So she asked if we could postpone Thanksgiving and celebrate on Friday instead. The one stormy day of the week, of course!
With luck it will be OK because we hope to drive to my mother's (she is hosting Thanksgiving dinner) on Thursday while all you guys are sitting down to your roast beasts and pumpkin pies and thus we won't have to face the rain until time to drive home after dinner on Friday.
It's going to be strange to be celebrating Thanksgiving a day late, but then in recent years we've done all sorts of "tradition changing" and this is just one more of them.
The holidays are usually about tradition. The tradition in my house when I was growing up was that my mother hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving. The same people came--my father's parents, my godfather (who was also my father's uncle), the four of us, and then maybe one or two "extras." It was so "traditional" that you could almost script the thing.
My grandfather would start the conversation with my sister and myself by saying "tell me all about yourself," my godfather would tell the same jokes he always told, my grandmother would seat herself and not get up until time to go to the table, but would send Karen and me on errands to fetch things for her, by saying "Hon, like a good girl, would you....." She'd sit there with that mouth pursed in disapproval and roll her eyes whenever my grandfather or my godfather said anything.
At some point between the highballs, hors d'oeuvres and dinner, we would all get tired of my grandmother's complaints about everything, and one by one my father, mother, sister and I would end up in the kitchen taking refuge with each other (our one real traditional "bonding" time was when my grandmother came to visit and we all got fed up with her complaints!)
Then when dinner was called, my godfather would head off to the bathroom and my grandmother would roll her eyes again and sigh in exasperation because he always had to go to the bathroom as soon as we were called to the table.
Dinner was always perfect. My mother makes the best turkey stuffing I've ever had and that was always my favorite part.
And then after dinner, when the turkey was empty we were all stuffed, we would sit around the living room and pass around the 2 lb box of Sees candies that my godfather always brought. The one thing my grandmother taught me was how to tell what was inside a Sees bonbon by the decoration on the top. I'm still pretty good at it, though have little opportunity to practice these days. I can pick out a chocolate cream like a champ.
When Walt and I married, the "extra" people at holiday dinners were Walt's mother and, if they were around, his sister and brother.
But tradition changed when my mother divorced my father and then married Fred. Then her Thanksgivings were usually spent with Fred's family. That's when I learned how to make stuffing and started hosting Thanksgiving dinners here, a habit which lasted for a few years until Walt's mother bought her condo at Lake Tahoe.
For many, many years, Thanksgiving was a pot luck dinner held at the condo. I always brought the pumpkin pie. One year I dropped it on the rug in the living room. Not my finest hour!
When they were able, my mother and Fred came as well. Those were always the best because I always missed having Thanksgiving with my mother. New traditions formed, such as Tom's famous baked Alaska, playing charades each year, and the silly paper turkey that we used as a centerpiece each year (it's still there, I think).
It was harder for me to go to the condo after Dave and Paul died and a couple of years ago, I broke with tradition completely. My mother didn't want to make the drive to Lake Tahoe, so I sent Walt to have dinner with his family and my mother and I went out to a restaurant. Seemed very strange, but how lovely not to have to cook or clean! (Of course there was also no turkey for lunch the next day or pumpkin pie to sneak in the middle of the night either.)
That year, Walt's mother realized that the altitude was starting to get to her and the following year we gave up on the condo entirely. Instead my mother went back to hosting the dinners again. But life is change and now we share the holidays with in-laws. This year we were going to miss both Ned and Tom, who planned to have dinner with their respective in-laws (it's our year to get them all for Christmas). Jeri, of course, can't come home from Boston just for dinner, so we don't see her until Christmas.
However, now that we are going to have dinner on Friday, Ned and Marta will also join us. Turkey with her parents on Thursday and dinner with his parents on Friday (which means they will be available to feed Sheila and Kimba on Thursday night so we can spend Thursday night at my mother's).
Tradition is an important part of family life, but if you live long enough, you discover that traditions are meant to be established, molded to fit the circumstances, and sometimes abandoned completely.
May all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and know that I am very thankful that you continue to check in here and read these silly musings of mine!
Website of the Day
Are you a crafty person looking for some novel item to make for a Christmas gift? The Department of Homeland Security would probably love you if you worked on some of these.
Wouldn't you know it.....
What Part of Thanksgiving Are You?
(...I'd rather be stuffing)
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Tahoe - 1990