Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Blessed Giving of Thanks

A few years ago, my mom dared to leave the safe confines of Mission Viejo and attend a conference. All of the conferences/classical music summer camps that she attends are held in central California, a God-forsaken chunk of land that I would sell to Nevada in a heartbeat. While Mom disappeared to her hellish farmland location, my dad, sister, brother-in-law, brother and I were left to feed ourselves.

Days 1-3: Not a problem. The youngest of the group was 19, the oldest was 50, and everyone had successfully cooked the basics at one point in their lives: rice, pasta, jello, boxed mashed potatoes, and eggs.

Day 4: We realized that the pantry and refrigerator were nearly empty, with the exception of the foods that we will always own but never eat: kidney beans, baking powder, molasses, half a bag of split peas, and aged green onions.

Day 5: Someone opened the freezer to discover an 18lb. turkey. Plans were made to cook it in two days. Plans were extended, and a trip was finally made to the grocery store to buy the necessary ingredients for gravy, mashed potatoes (real ones), stuffing, salad, rolls, and dessert.

Day 7: Thanksgiving in August. Guests arrived and were forced to either dress like a Pilgrim or to make a Native American vest out of a paper grocery bag. New traditions were formed, including rules such as 1) eat pie directly out of the tin and 2) only be grateful for really shallow things, as it was summer.

Last Saturday, at 3pm, the new tradition was once again celebrated, this time in Santa Fe. The food was noteworthy, the costumes were darling, and the scripted family fights made it feel like a real holiday. Best of all, my heart was touched by the things that people were grateful for:

“I'm grateful for the drawer in the refrigerator that keeps my meat and cheese fresh.”
“I'm grateful for Allsup’s gas station, whose gas is three cents cheaper.”
“I'm grateful for bulimia, which allows me to eat anything I want.”


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