Hey everyone! Long time, no blog, huh? Sorry about that. A lot has been going on at my house as well as SophistiKatie’s. We’ll be back on the wagon soon. In the mean time, here’s some stuff about Thanksgiving from my other blog, which hasn’t been updated since I started this one. I wrote this bit a year ago.
This is my first Thanksgiving without my mom, which is the stupidest thing I can think of right now. Why on Earth would Thanksgiving happen without her? Growing up, the holiday was really no big deal. We visited my grandparents and cooked up a storm and it was lovely, but it didn’t take on any significance for me until much later.
My grandparents died right around the beginning of high school, so they no longer hosted the gathering. It was just me, my mom and my sister at that point. We had a discussion about it one day and decided that, rather than spend the morning cooking an elaborate meal and the afternoon cleaning up after ourselves, we should do something simple and enjoy our day off. So we grabbed some hot dogs and headed to the park. I brought my little tent, a gift I wanted so badly and never actually used for camping (though it was nearly constantly pitched in our otherwise-unused second living room) and we all sat in it and ate hot dogs and potato salad off of paper plates and chatted. It was delightful. As the afternoon wore on, I thought of the one improvement that could have been made. I called up my best friend, Katie, and she was done with her meal, so her dad drove her over to meet us. We ran around the Shakespeare in the Park set, which was abandoned at this time of year. We repeated that tradition for years. Park, tent, hot dogs, Katie.
When my sister and I had both married and had other obligations for the holiday, the tradition changed. My mom started having Thanksgiving with my cousin here in Colorado. Kristen is friends with a great group of people, many of whom don’t always feel like traveling or have anywhere in particular to go for the holiday. Together, all these strays and stragglers make a crowd large enough to warrant the cooking. The first Thanksgiving for Strays I recall involved my cousin ordering a whole billion pints and quarts of side dishes from Whole Foods and warming them over for whoever came. My mom, always the hostess, saw to it that a proper feast was presented the next year. The year after that, and every year after, it was held at her house. It became Dee’s holiday. People would come over and eat and cook and chat for hours after the meal was complete.
Last year was her last Thanksgiving, and we spent it in her tiny little apartment in Oklahoma. She was staying there while receiving chemotherapy. She was sick and fragile, but happy as always to entertain a crowd. This year, the torch has been passed and I will host the Thanksgiving for Strays. I’ll try my hand at her dishes, bake my first turkey and be thankful that, even though they never really got to know one another, my daughter will grow up experiencing this piece of my mom.