As if this month wasn’t already perfect (Obama!!) it also includes my favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving has it all–no pressure to buy gifts, and it’s all about food and family. It’s also the big tradition on my side of the family–the only time my sister, brother and our families all get together as a group. Like other families in a fast-paced, fast-changing world, family geography is often a major casualty–making reunions rare and special.
This year is extra special due to three new faces at the table. Two will be in high chairs–my niece’s identical twin girls–the first grandchildren. And my son-in-law has never been to our family Thanksgiving or even met all the cousins, since he was in Iraq for the past TWO Thanksgivings (Thank you, George Bush, for that).
Our bi-coastal tradition started when my brother-in-law Paul was in law school in California and I came out for Thanksgiving. A few years later, thanks to Paul’s job and to Mel Brooks— my sister and I switched coasts. But we kept the tradition. And every year, with a few notable exceptions, I’ve shlepped to Carla and Paul’s house near Washington, D.C.–taking my kids out of school early, flying back and forth on the most expensive and busiest travel weekend of the year. All in all, a pain in the butt. But well worth the trip. Of course, I love being with the family. And for me, it’s worth the flying as long as Carla does the cooking.
My sister is the flip side of me in every possible way. At this very moment, while I’m still procrastinating about stopping the mail and the newspapers and who will feed the cat while we’re gone, Carla is shopping for all the food; setting and accessorizing the table so everything looks Martha Stewart perfect; and cooking almost everything except the turkey and stuffing—all homemade. It’s always beautiful and delicious and it’s all done and in the freezer by the time we arrive a few days before Thanksgiving. I don’t have to help, clean up, or even witness this. My only official job is to show up, with plenty of Sees chocolate.
I love the holiday, but if I had to spend that much time using my oven, I think I’d probably stick my head into it. Thankfully, there are people like Carla who love the planning and preparation and production. Maybe this year, when we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for, the whole family should give thanks that Thanksgiving is not at my house.