The funny thing about Thanksgiving, or any huge meal, is that you spend 12 hours shopping for it and then chopping and cooking and braising and blanching. Then it takes 20 minutes to eat it and everybody sort of sits around in a food coma, and then it takes four hours to clean it up. ~Ted Allen
I have strong doubts that the first Thanksgiving even remotely resembled the “history” I was told in second grade. But considering that (when it comes to holidays) mainstream America’s traditions tend to be over-eating, shopping, or getting drunk, I suppose it’s a miracle that the concept of giving thanks even surfaces at all. ~Ellen Orleans
Whether I am prepared for it or not, Thanksgiving is upon us. Time to give thanks for a year of blessings. Time to cook and consume copious amounts of food that will have no positive effect on my waistline. Time to endure the company of family members who would otherwise be avoided.
Contrary to how it sounds, I don’t necessarily dislike Thanksgiving, though I will admit to being slightly annoyed by it. Sure, I understand the importance of such a holiday to our national history. I get that it is supposed to act as the adhesive that brings families together for a day of reflection. (Isn’t it ironic that this day of thanks occurs just before millions of Americans turn into greedy monsters consumed with the materialistic need to get a deal on the next “it” thing. Just saying.) However, I am a person who does my very best to side step stress and drama. Not something that is possible this time of year. I think we can all agree that Thanksgiving, and the weeks that follow, are synonymous with stress.
Each year I swear it will be different. I vow that I will channel my inner Martha Stewart and reduce my stress level by planning ahead, allowing a few extra hands in the kitchen, and forgiving myself a few missteps. After all, it really doesn’t matter if the stuffing is soggy or the pumpkin pie is a little too brown around the edges. What matters is the family who has gathered around the dinner table and I have a wonderful family.
My intentions are good.
But…what is it that Robert Burns says…
Oh yes,”…the best laid schemes of mice and men…”
My intentions are good, but they are doomed to failure.
It happens every year.
The problem? Poor planning. Plain and simple. Yeah, I know…I know. Total contradiction to my personality as a whole. As one who favors structure and rules, it is odd to think that I am completely incapable of adequately preparing for upcoming events, but it’s true. It’s not because I am a grand procrastinator. Okay, maybe I do suffer from a small case procrastinatoritis, but my issue lies mostly in my inability to deal with more than one dire issue at a time.
In my head, next to the filing cabinet that holds my phobias, is a desk. A very messy desk, kinda like the one in my office. Piled high upon this desk are files, each containing an upcoming event or a to do that I must accomplish within a certain perimeter. It’s a pile that grows exponential with every passing month, each file more important than the last. None of them forgiving enough to permit me to give the next one the attention it deserves until a deadline is standing before me with an unpleasant consequence aimed at my head. It is the story of my life.
And the very reason I wake up one morning only to find that it is the day before Thanksgiving, my relatives are beating down the door, my cupboards are bare, and I have absolutely no idea what I am going to feed anyone.
To make matters worse, there is absolutely no wine to be found anywhere in my house. Not one stinking drop.
This year was no different.
With two major papers and an oral presentation due the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, who can really blame me for forgetting to plan. Add a hard drive crash to that and you will understand there was no room in my poor brain fried mind for thoughts of turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie. By Wednesday of this week, I was hovering between the need for a reschedule and full on denial of what was coming down the pike. Sadly, there is no rescheduling Thanksgiving.
I blame the liberal media.
What? Is that going too far?
In the end, it all came together, just as it always does. Yes, I was cranky. Yes, the roasted carrots burned and looked a lot like orange-colored turds. Yes, the turkey was a smidgen dry. Yes, I burned the pumpkin pies so bad that I had to start over. Yes, I almost forgot to make my family’s favorite dessert – high calorie banana pudding. But the homemade stuffing turned out fantastic and the gravy was free of lumps.
And I finally found my wine.
As for what the next file on my mental desk demands of me…
…well, I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s my day off. Ask me again on Monday.