Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is awesome and I really, really like getting stuff, but you just can’t beat Thanksgiving .
I don’t know what it’s like in your house, but the best way I can explain it is that Thanksgiving at the Rhymer’s is a lot like catering a small wedding where nobody gets laid.
The clean up starts two or three days earlier, furniture is moved out, rented tables, chairs and tablecloths are moved in. Elaborately, tasteful flower arrangements are constructed and placed about, there’s an open bar, a sit down dinner for twenty-five of which there are usually one or two people nobody is quite sure who they are, heartfelt sentiments are often exchanged, the occasional tear is wiped away and somebody always ends up dancing.
Not a bad day, huh? Oh, we also have the usual components, the holiday stereotypes. Rest assured someone will come late, usually the person bringing the appetizer. One of the men will conveniently fall asleep on the couch and time it perfectly for the moment when it’s time to do dishes. It is usually a stunning performance managing to stay pretend asleep while kids giggle and flashbulbs go off from all the cellphones snapping pictures of him drooling on the couch I just had recovered.
Fourteen people will say: “Oh I ate too much.” Eight will declare it an absolute necessity to get a copy of the recipe for one of the side dishes. Three will quietly complain out of the earshot of the host that the turkey was: “A little dry for my taste.” And as soon as the last bite hits their stomachs one of the teenagers will start begging their parents: “Can we please go home NOW!”
Oh, and someone will step on the dog. That one never fails, it’s a miracle the dog makes it through the day in one piece.
And in the midst of all this chaos? What with the turkey and the dog and the football, the twenty-five friends and family and friends of other people’s family and family of friends and the one or two people who nobody seems to know how they got there or who they came with… something amazing happens. People come together.
They smile, they laugh, they catch up, they tell stories. They work on the jigsaw puzzle laid out on the coffee table, sit out by the firepit in the backyard or rock on the front porch. They have a martini in the middle of the afternoon and laugh just a little bit harder because of it and then everything stops, they pause, with the scent of turkey weighing heavy in the air and give thanks for all of it.
For the food and the football, and the barking dog and the frailty of life and the beautiful chaos of twenty-five people sharing a day together. For my money, you just can’t beat this holiday with a stick.
But between you and me? I’d still really like to know who those two or three extra people were… cause I want to make sure they come back for Christmas.