Thanksgiving was an amazing time — a real joy and a success in so many little ways. Here’s my Top 10 gratitude list for what the day had to offer yesterday:
- I woke up in time to get the turkey completely thawed before I put it in the oven. This was not a given, because I have a tendency to oversleep when I have to get up at a certain time. The turkey was still a little icy, the night before, and I knew I was going to need at least three hours to thaw it in a cold water bath before I could stuff it and put it in the oven. (Yes, for the record, I walk on the wild side and stuff my turkeys whenever I make them – it just tastes better, and I allow for extra time to roast.) But I actually woke up 30 minutes before I had to get up, which allowed me time to get going and get my head on straight before launching into the cooking. And by the time the stuffing was ready, the bird was too.
- I managed to time everything out, almost exactly right. This was another thing that was not-a-given. Last year at Christmas time, I screwed up roasting a turkey and ended up needing an extra four hours to cook it. Yesterday, I had no such leeway; I had to have everything timed out exactly right, because we had to get on the road by a certain time. And I managed. I checked the clock frequently, and unlike other times, I didn’t just assume things would get done quickly — like prepping the stuffing and the veggies that went around the bird. I took extra time, which as it turned out, was what I needed from the start.
- The friend who said they might come to dinner with us, did show up. This individual was recently diagnosed with cancer, and they are going through radiation and a variety of treatments, and they’ll be having surgery a few days before Christmas. It actually felt good to be able to just hang out with this friend, help them get their mind off their troubles, and just enjoy — with good food, good company, and a relaxing evening when they didn’t need to do anything.
- Another friend who was going to be alone on Thanksgiving didn’t show up. That friend has been a real pain in the ass, over the past year, and while we do enjoy their company at times, they’re pretty erratic, so you never know how they’re going to be. They didn’t show, so there was no need to deal with their volatility.
- We had Thanksgiving dinner “off the grid”. Well, technically it wasn’t completely off the grid, because there was electricity. But there was no cell phone signal, and we had to drive back into the woods to get to the cabin where we had dinner. It was really relaxing to not have Facebook and email and phones going all night long. What a change.
- The drive out was beautiful. The weather was clear, it wasn’t doing anything obnoxious, and the countryside was lovely in that almost-winter way.
- We took our time. We spent a fair amount of time prepping food when we got there, and then we took our time serving everything up and going around the table sharing what we were thankful for. We didn’t stress over food getting cold — our hearts were warm, and that’s what mattered. We really lingered over the food, too, pacing ourselves. And I have to say, that was the best Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever had, because I didn’t feel over-full and wiped out afterwards. I ate a lot, but I didn’t have that sick feeling I often get afterwards.
- We ate like royalty. Seriously. We had a lot of food, and it was good. We all felt like kings and queens in the process — just so much really good food, without a lot of junk. Everybody in the group was on some sort of restricted diet, so all our food was not only squeaky clean and free of a ton of additives and other modern poisons, but also extremely good for us and tasty too.
- We just hung out afterwards. We went for a walk out under the stars in the evening, and it was just amazing. We hung out talking about this and that. We watched little videotape snippets from “past lives”, we played music and sang, and we lay around the living room, playing with the dog and just chillin’. There was none of the rush and pressure to be a certain way or do certain things or meet anyone’s needs. We were just there to enjoy each others’ company and share a good meal.
- We got home at an okay hour, and got everything put away. This is another thing that’s not a given for my spouse and me. Often, when we’ve been out late, we’ll just leave things till the morning. But for some reason last night, we were both motivated to take care of things and put up the dirty dishes, tuck the leftovers into decent containers (instead of just throwing it in the fridge), and get things squared away before going to bed. This made things a lot easier to wake up to, this morning. And for that, I am very grateful.
All in all, it was a banner day. I’ll write more later, because a number of really important things happened. But for now, let the record show that yesterday was one of the best Thanksgivings, ever.