A Tempting Proposal
It all began with good intentions. Randy knew I worked hard on Thanksgiving day (not to mention the weeks leading up to it) and he wanted me to relax and enjoy the holiday. I taught school at the time, and the four-day vacation surrounding Thanksgiving was not a break from my hectic schedule.
“Let’s go out to eat this Thanksgiving,” he blurted unexpectedly a few weeks before the big day. “We can skip the preliminary planning, the shopping, and the full day of cooking. And we won’t have to figure out how to get the leftovers in the fridge.” He shouldn’t have mentioned the leftovers. That’s my favorite part.
Randy was clever with his timing. His proposal came on a day when I was exhausted and cranky from dealing with second-graders. His suggestion gradually transitioned from absurd to enticing as the holiday approached. One week before Thanksgiving, I embraced the offer, grateful I didn’t have to purchase a turkey or a pomegranate, two items I buy only once a year.
No Favorite Pie?
The fourth Thursday of November came without fanfare or stress. After watching the Macy’s Day parade (for the first time sitting), the family climbed into the car with varying amounts of enthusiasm. It was uncharacteristically silent as we drove to an all you can eat buffet. Promising a movie to follow our meal made little difference in the existing mood and I sensed disaster in my hasty decision to change years of tradition.
The Thanksgiving buffet offered many choices but didn’t come close to the savory, homemade delicacies that took hours to prepare. Feeling physically rested didn’t compensate for the joy I missed serving my family. Unlike past Thanksgivings, I didn’t rise early to dress the turkey or bake eight different pies to cover everyone’s favorite. Instead of a morning filled with the laughter of family working together in the kitchen, we all sat in a cold restaurant filling our stomachs, void of conversation or smiles. I was surprised how much I missed the mounds of dirty dishes and the football game blaring in the background.
More Than a Feast
Why did I feel hungry sitting in the crowded theater watching a newly released Christmas movie? Pondering the day’s events, I discovered the reason for my emptiness. Thanksgiving is more than a meal with all the right foods. Thanksgiving is a day to demonstrate gratitude and loving service. It is time spent together, cooking, playing, and talking. It is the season we give thanks for a year of prosperity and blessings, the reasons behind the First Thanksgiving.
As we entered our home late that evening, absent were the smells of sage dressing and pumpkin pie. Gone was the need to browse through my recipe box of twenty different ways to fix leftover turkey. Missing were the anticipated meals of turkey sandwiches on day-old rolls. The fridge was void of fruit salad with brown bananas and gooey marshmallow-topped yams. We might as well have slept through Thanksgiving, and even though my feet weren’t throbbing, and the kitchen sparkled, I vowed we would never skip it again.