Giving Thanks

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, I have mixed feelings. Not about the giving thanks part. It’s just that I’m something of a procrastinator, a very BAD planner, and a lousy housekeeper. And I have ankle issues. Talo-calcaneal coalition, for those of you who like big words. In little words, it just means my feet hurt a lot, especially when I stand on them all day in the kitchen. Or anyplace else, for that matter.

On Monday, my friend Judy asked me what we were doing for Thanksgiving. “Sheesh,” I told her. “That’s not until Thursday.” She smiled. I haven’t known her very long, but she’s already figuring me out. Planning is painful. I’d rather just work things out as I go along. Life so rarely cooperates with plans, why go to all the trouble of making them when you’re probably going to end up winging it anyway?

But some things are simply not optional. So Wednesday morning I got up and made my plans. It wasn’t easy, but it had to be done. They went something like this:

  • Go to chemistry class.
  • Go to store.
  • Buy lots of food.
  • Compel (beg, if necessary) someone to unload car.
  • Put food away.
  • Rest.
  • (Thursday) Cook food.
  • Excavate dining room table.
  • Eat.
  • Put away leftovers.
  • Rest.

I text-messaged the kids. “Text me your favorite Thanksgiving foods.” Delegation is an important skill.

Of course, instead of attending my chemistry class I ended up getting only halfway to school before turning around and going back to the house and then all the way out to Cornelius to take Jeff his socket set so he could change the tire that had blown out on the truck two hours earlier. Who knew the lug wrench that came with it wasn’t the right size? Or that two different roadside assistance guys wouldn’t have the proper tools either? And, you see what I mean about plans? (Jeff’s certainly weren’t going well!)

By the time I got to WinCo, the kids had text messaged me various components of what actually ended up being a complete Thanksgiving menu, and all I had to do was locate all of the proper ingredients. Which wasn’t as easy as it sounded, due to the massive throngs of people crowding the aisles of WinCo. Apparently I’m not the only procrastinator in town.

I found myself wishing briefly that the pilgrims could have just settled for a simple picnic lunch. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, maybe, with chocolate milk. For dessert, s’mores, toasted over the campfire.

But now that it’s all over, the food’s put away and the dishes are mostly washed and the moaning about overfilled stomachs has subsided, I find myself feeling thankful even for the long day of cooking. In addition to the obvious, that we have the luxury of being able to enjoy a little abundance occasionally, with a table to eat around and a roof over our heads, it’s fun having a grown daughter to giggle with in the kitchen while we cook. And rewarding, to cook for boys who’ve been out on their own for a while. I can remember when getting the food IN them was the biggest challenge of all. That’s sure not a problem any more! The banter around the table, of siblings finally old enough to actually like each other, makes a Mom’s heart glad. And spending a whole day with family and special friends – no work, no classes, no studying – is a nice change of pace.

I’m happy. I have a lot to be happy about. Life is good.

And I won’t need to cook again for at least three days. Hey, maybe the pilgrims had the right idea after all.

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