Thanksgiving Thoughts

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  For the first time in several years, the Scorekeeper is closing for the long weekend.  Jo Anne and I are planning to devote our time off to writing (she’s working on revisions to her 2011 Golden Heart® winner, and I’m determined to finish my work-in-progress in time for this year’s GH deadline, December 2), and maybe catching up on a little missed sleep.   I’ll venture as far as the grocery store sometime before Monday, but I plan to stay as far as possible from the madness of the Black Friday sales.

I spent this afternoon at the glorious buffet at a local resort hotel, a holiday tradition I share with my next-door neighbor, her daughter, and various other nieghbors and friends.  Today there were eight of us, and we had a lovely time.  I managed to restrain myself to small (well, mostly small) portions of maybe twenty per cent of the treats on offer, and stopped before I reached the point of discomfort, but it wasn’t easy.  The dessert table alone was enough to throw anyone into a massive attack of indecision.  I did get my slice of lamb, a treat not easily come by in this part of the world.  I grew up in the midwest, where lamb is a staple, but here in Texas I run into people who have never touched it, and not many restaurants serve it.  But a good holiday buffet almost always has a leg of lamb next to the ham and the prime rib, and mint jelly along with the au jus.

These days I’m more than happy to go out for my holiday dinners.  No cooking, no cleaning, and no stress.  There was a time when I frequently found myself cast as hostess for some ragtag collection of folks with nowhere to be on Thanksgiving, usually fellow archeologists and historians and their families, as many as thirty people one memorable year in Louisiana.  Fortunately my late husband loved to cook for special occasions (not so enthusiastic about everyday meal prep), and he was good at it.  He roasted a mean turkey, the bigger the better, and made so many sides he’d run out of pots and pans.  His specialties included Maryland crab cake and oyster dressing, neither of which I would ever dream of attempting myself.  He emptied the cupboards in the process, and he wasn’t so excited about cleaning up, but he didn’t disappear after dinner to watch football on TV, either.  One year we found his elderly Persian cat, Scheherazade, asleep on the kitchen counter with her head inside the skeletal turkey.

Jack’s been gone for nine years now, and I miss him, especially at the holidays.  But we had thirty-three years together, and that’s one of the many things I’m thankful for.