Friday, November 27, 2009

Getting Good and Old

Serenity might be too strong a word, but forgive yourself. Your mind is still foggy from heavy injections of sugar, butter, and tryptophan. You are experiencing Thanksgiving nirvana.

You always had mixed feelings about the holiday as a kid. Food was the main theme and everywhere. Some was very good and some so-called food was really, really gross. Stuffing was over-rated. Onions and celery were non-negotiable. There was love in the air, and something else. Momentum in the kitchen was palatable. The sounds of mixers, an electric carving knife and whisking, accompanied by the oven door opening and closing in crescendo. Foil-covered bowls and pots outnumbered guests. Your mother barked at your grandmother. It was hot. The dishes and pans to wash were overwhelming.

Then you got married and strived to be Martha Stewart. You toiled over an artichoke stuffing with free-range walnuts that nobody liked. The turkey was blessed and fed a last supper of organic grain before it was killed and priced accordingly. Roasted root vegetables with sprigs of herb you grew in pots on your deck were not quite the big hit you hoped for. You made that fourth trip downtown in traffic for the Gewurtztraminer you needed for dinner. The dishes were still overwhelming, and with a headache even more challenging. Your kids didn't eat anything and were hungry for macaroni and cheese. And you made it for them.

Thank God middle age set in.  You look yourself in the mirror and now see an old friend who never was much of a cook and you realize it doesn't matter. You really do want everyone to come and you don't fuss a lot with decorations. You don't think about going to Target. Butterball Turkeys and Bell Stuffing are gorged by laughing nieces and nephews. You happily surrender pie-making to your mother-in-law and daughter. You turn a blind eye to your children drinking soda and eating cookies minutes before dinner. You drink the wine that is closest to you and open. You ignore the dog hair blowing around in tumbleweeds. You give in to the energy and momentum. You have a vision of your limited days and years ahead and you know you have choices. The memories are in the making.

Presented to you on Thanksgiving is an opportunity to be in the moment and you now have the good sense to seize it.

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