Thanksgiving always has been the one time of year that our family gets together. At Christmas, everyone likes to stay at home to keep Santa from getting lost, but on Thanksgiving, all roads lead to our house.
From points north and south and nearby, the children, and the children's children, converge on our house, which I like to call The Reason They Make Band-Aids. The kids bring their special dishes, or what will become their specialties if they hospitalize no one this year.
We provide the bird and maybe a ham, and the various side dishes my wife insists on slaving over for days in advance. If she doesn't make a certain dish, one of the kids brings it.
Sweet potato souffl? Check. A potato dish that has no name but does have onions and peppers? Check. Watergate salad? Check. Chocolate pecan fudge? Check. Two kinds of dressing, with and without sage? Check and check.
I make my ever-popular spinach dip because, well, it takes so little effort and I don't really want to be in the kitchen when so much work is going on there. I've never made the dip exactly the same way twice.
I always sneak in jalapenos, and each year I kick up the jalapeno-to-spinach ratio.
My goal is that some day, jalapenos will completely take the place of spinach in my "spinach dip." Unless, of course, someone is hospitalized along the way.
Thanksgiving is one of the few days when our dining room actually gets used, in addition to the kitchen table and various other places flat enough to lay a plate.
The rest of the year, the dining room table is a dust collector, not really used except for homework and after-school coloring duties.
After the big meal, we play games in the back yard and the grandchildren climb the treehouse, most of them fairly successfully. We keep the Band-Aids handy.
That night, after a round of leftovers, everyone collapses in the bedrooms, with enough spillage to occupy the sofa and the living room floor. The next day, the brave and foolhardy attempt Christmas shopping, which means leaving the house and entering traffic. The rest of us stay home, close to the pie and the Band-Aids.
Many years ago, before we were married, I worked in another state for a while. I couldn't drive back for Thanksgiving that year because I had to work the next day, so I stayed in my lonely apartment (whimper, whimper) and prepared a Thanksgiving feast for one.
I started with the bird. OK, it was a Cornish hen, but I cooked it to a golden brown (the poor little thing didn't take long to roast).
I placed it on a saucer, and on other saucers I prepared tiny portions of dressing and vegetables and a thin slice of pie.
When everything was ready, I set up my camera on the tripod and shot a photo of the tiny meal. The saucers made the hen look like a big turkey and the fixings look life-size.
I sent the photo to my fiance to show her I was doing well and didn't miss out on the holiday after all.
I don't ever want to do that again. Thanksgiving is definitely not a day to be alone. After all, turkeys are big because they're supposed to be shared.
I look forward to having everyone under our roof on such a historic day, and yes, I'm thankful, too. I have a couple of places to hide when the noise and confusion become too much, and I know where the Band-Aids are stored. I'm ready.
Here's hoping you have your own Thanksgiving traditions, too.
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.