I've been chatting with an American friend who took all of two second to tell me Canadians are crazy to be having Thanksgiving today. "Yeah, let's have it a few weeks before Christmas to ramp up the horrible holiday hostage situations that take place when families get together," I thought, but didn't say. We then fell to trying to figure out what Thanksgiving was about, anyway. She's smart, and came back to Abe Lincoln wanting to thank god. Or God. Take your pick. For all my schooling, Thanksgiving for me will forever be centered around a drawing I made with pilgrims in it, where I paid meticulous attention to getting the buckles on their shoes just right.
Thanksgiving is about buckles. And people with buckles on their shoes always remind me of leprechauns. Who knew two such disparate groups could share the same footwear? And then of course I think of the cereal commercial with the annoying little leprechaun, and Thanksgiving is now about Lucky Charms. Which are on sale at No Frills this week, by the way. Coincidence? I think not. Turkeys, aisle one, Lucky Charms, aisle three.
Everyone will be here later for turkey. I was up early and tossed a 22 pound sucker into its sea salt bath. (If you've never brined a turkey, it is easy, fast and makes the guaranteed best turkey, ever. And it cooks in under 3 hours. Email me if you want to know how, though it's too late for today. But you could do it tomorrow. So, ask.)
Roz will be here this afternoon to gracefully shove me out of the way and take over. I will pretend to offer to help, but mostly just open wine. Her hubby will disappear to watch TV that isn't centered around the girly girly fixup shows that Roz makes him watch on a regular Saturday. Gilly and her crew will be here later; her youngest has a hockey game, though if I know my sister she will leave him to his Dad and arrive here early to assist Roz. I will give her wine.
Both boys are working till 6 or 7. This is a new twist in these things, watching them grow up and having responsibilities beyond putting their laundry away. Which they still don't do, by the way. But as I was elbow deep in a turkey's arse this morning, I couldn't help but think I was doing my Dad's job. He'll be gone 14 years on October 26. He always cleaned the turkey. He also peeled the vegetables, which I will do, too. Gilly and Manny do the baking - my mother's domain. So much the same, so much different. The same dishes made by different hands.
We're not too inventive, chez Sommerfeld. We serve the same dinner for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. The kids used to call Thanksgiving Christmas without the presents. I've told them if they don't start putting their laundry away, we'll be having Christmas without the presents, too.
I'll tell you one thing for free: we used to come home for dinner every Sunday, and it was a good thing. My Mom would make a mom dinner - roast beef, usually - but we all made the trek to the dining room on Sundays. Didn't matter if we lived in the same house or hours away, you knew if you weren't home on Sunday you were going to get a call. And we would fight and badger and laugh and be bored. We would look around that table at these people we were connected to by blood or wedding bands, and wonder if we could get out of next Sunday's dinner so we could do something else.
Looking back, I'm grateful I got to far more than I missed. I look at both of my sisters in the middle of this chaos, and I finally realize who I am thanking. This is where my children come from.