Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful, I Think!




I woke this morning at 5 a.m. to a strange feeling that I couldn't quite identify at first. I had to come fully awake to understand what it was...

And so, what was it? Unbelievably, it was an anticipation of the holiday, and I am so happy that I can't go back to sleep! I say "unbelievable" because I haven't experienced happy anticipation of Thanksgiving since I was a girl, and we used to go out to Long Island to my paternal grandparents' house in the suburbs--and my dad was alive, and my grandma and grandpa; and my sister and I would sneak m&ms from the enormous bowl set out in the livingroom, and everyone plus stragglers were arrayed around the dinner table--it was lively and the conversations raucous, then ebbing, then flowing and raucous again--and the relatives asked you about school and boyfriends, and there was a chocolate cornucopia in the middle of the table. We were all there and it was fun. So much fun!

Then there were the long fallow years, when Thanksgiving day was a little bit lonely, and alienating, and just made me miss the lost ones all the more.

Now suddenly it's different. I'm not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my sister-in-law (technically, my sister's sister-in-law, but we are close and I like to think of her as my own) and I were discussing the food we'll be bringing to my sister's house today. This conversation made me feel happier and happier. We are all good cooks, but I'm leaving it to the others to bring the special fancy dishes ( the brined turkey, the cranberry cornbread, the lovely homemade fruit pies). Sarge suggested that I contribute some white trash cooking in homage to my deep Kentucky roots on my dad's side (yes, I have some Southern Baptist in me!) and to his Texas roots on his mother's side. So my contributions will be ambrosia "salad," frito pie, and green bean casserole. So much fun to make and fun to eat, so quintessentially and generically American, nary a fresh ingredient in the lot.

I shopped for the dubiously tinned and frozen ingredients, and last night, late, I made the Ambrosia, and this morning opened the fridge to lay witness to the fluffy, sweet, pale green clouds of it, nesting in my huge bright blue bowl, ready to go. It took up most of the entire bottom shelf. There was a tell-tale dent where Sarge must have put serving spoon to its depths--just to test it, I suppose. But the bounty remains largely untrammelled and expectantly awaiting the good times ahead.

Sometimes it's wonderful just to let go of existential brooding and let yourself feel the lightness of pure, mellow, childlike satisfaction. I realize that I haven't let myself do that in a very long time, not about anything. My spirit is often burdened with memory and worry. But not today. Not today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

31 comments:

mapstew said...

Oh, that last paragraph says it all! I may join you!

Have a wonderfully playful holiday!

xxx

Hunter said...

And that's really what Thanksgiving is all about. Hope it's a great one.

otin said...

I am glad that you are regaining something that you seemed to have lost! Life comes full cycle, it seems. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Brian Miller said...

not today! that is my new mantra! i hope you live in that wonder today and have an amazing thanksgiving!

The Girl from Lokhandwala said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Hugs.

MJ said...

No cake?

Happy Thanksgiving!

mago said...

HAppy Thanksgiving to you and all yours. It's all so American ... :)

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

U

nick said...

And Happy Thanksgiving to you. I hope Sarge didn't nibble too much of the food in advance....

Jimmy Bastard said...

"I made the Ambrosia, and this morning opened the fridge to lay witness to the fluffy, sweet, pale green clouds of it, nesting in my huge bright blue bowl"

I have no idea what this Ambrosia is, but jaysus do I wannae try a big oul spoon full of it right about now.

Ronda Laveen said...

Good for you! I am kinda going with it this year too! I had so forgotten about Frito pie. My mom used to make that every other Saturday night for a year or so. Mmmm...great choices...all!

Have a beautiful day and the description of your ambrosia in the bright blue bowl so appeals to my inner crayola child.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

You mean the pure, mellow, childlike satisfaction of guiltlessly stuffing yourself, don't you? We can only do that once or twice a year so you'd best embrace it.

Leah said...

map: I raised a spoonful of ambrosia in toast to you!

Hunter: hope you had a nice one too!

otin: I am trying to find it anyway--I think it's there somewhere! hope you had a great thanksgiving!

Brian: the day turned out to be very lovely, as much as I'd hoped--hope yours was lovely too!

Girl: happy t-day to you, and hugs back!

MJ: in fact, my mother made two kinds of cake--red velvet and vanilla. So much dessert, oh my freaking god.

mago: it was super-duper American...

U: hope yours was wonderful!

nick: Sarge was good and left most of it...

Jimmy: You would love it. It is pure decadence.

Ronda: you had frito pie too, as a kid! that's fabulous. I only just tasted it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. All I can say is, wow.

UB: actually, no extreme stuffing of myself went on today. I was too busy beforehand, then supervising little ones, and then doing the dishes. But it was still fun!

Ponita in Real Life said...

Mmmmm! Ambrosia salad... and green bean casserole! I had my introduction to both of those when I lived in Texas for a couple of years. That, and pecan pie... OMG!

Happy Thanksgiving, Leah! I'm so glad the day was a great one for you... lifting your spirits as it did. Here's hoping they stay lifted.

Leah said...

Ponita: don't you just love those things? And pecan pie--I knew we were missing something at the table yesterday! I loooove pecan pie. Very Texas, all of it. Interesting that you lived there, I didn't realize. I lived in Austin for awhile, years ago.

Pat said...

I'm glad you are enjoying it. It always puzzles me how it can be fun to have two big festivals so close together with all the work involved but then it occurs to me that maybe you don't celebrate Christmas - although my Jewish SIL always did.
In any case Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family.

Leah said...

Thanks Pat!

No, we don't celebrate Christmas, and Chanukah is a very low-key affair, a minor holiday for Jews, really, although festive and fun.

Pat said...

:)xox

Karen ^..^ said...

And THAT, my dear friend, is why Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday.

You captured it so well. Beautiful post. I can feel the excitement, it's contagious!

Candie Bracci said...

Beautiful Leah!I wish you plenty of days like that to come!I feel over the edge too nowadays!Hope it'll last!Love,much love to you and yours!:)

Baino said...

I'm looking forward to Christmas for much the same reason. Women in the kitchen and the whole family home for the first time in 3 years it's going to be so much fun. I'd completely forgotten about Ambrosia Salad, I might even do that just for shits and giggles! Hope you had a wonderful day,

Megan said...

We had one of the best Thanksgivings EVER. I've spent the entire day recovering! :)

nick said...

Tell me, as an ignorant Brit, what the hell is "beating a turkey pinata"? This is not a familiar custom in these parts.

Madame DeFarge said...

Glad that you are so happy and in such an uncomplicated way too. Enjoy the weekend and hope you had a happy holiday.

Leah said...

Karen: I'm glad we both had special days on Thursday! It was really very nice.

Candie: here's a toast to happiness, in all its forms and shapes!

Baino: cooking altogether is so much fun. And I agree, ambrosia salad is definitely for giggles!!!

Megan: and the take-home pie helped the next day along too, didn't it?

Mme: it is truly rare for me to have uncomplicated feelings! I'm hanging onto them like grim death! Hope you have a good weekend as well.

savannah said...

i can see y'all smiling, sugar! xoxoxo

Leah said...

Hi Sav! I was definitely smiling...a little less smiley today, but hey, it's all good!

xo

Leah said...

Nick! I missed you in there. I'm not sure what in heck a turkey pinata is! I'm going to go look it up right now.

Leah said...

Okay, I looked it up, and it seems to be just an ordinary pinata, but thanksgiving-themed. I guess some people like to have a pinata at thanksgiving, but it seems weird to me!

nick said...

I looked it up too, and it seems you fill a papier maché animal with presents and then everyone beats it to pieces to get at the presents. Weird's about it.

Leah said...

Nick, I didn't realize you were asking generally about pinatas. We have often had those at Hedgie's birthday party; they're fun. Although we buy the sort that have ribbons attached to a trap door, everyone pulls and one of the ribbons opens it. We've done away with the beating with a stick while blindfolded--too dangerous for the wee ones, lol (although I'm sure there's some that would like to wave a stick around wildly!!!)...