Friday, November 26, 2010

My Favorite Holiday

            This may be my favorite holiday of the year. No, not Black Friday. I wouldn’t venture to a mall on this sacred day if they were giving out dates with Russell Crowe and Viggo Mortensen (well maybe for Viggo). Today is “National Buy Nothing, Drink Tea and Wear Sweatpants Day” in our house. I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s a rainy day here. If I were inclined to go outside, I’d probably find the weather miserable. But since going outside would involve putting on shoes, I’ll skip it. 
            Yesterday was a marvelous and manic Thanksgiving Day. I got up at 4:30 to head to New Hampshire where much of my family lives. I intended to be up by 5:00 but that OCD of mine kicked in early. By 6:00 we were packed, gassed up, and had made the requisite stop at Dunkin’ Donuts and were on the road.
            I ran the 37th Annual Greater Derry Track Club Turkey Trot with a few members of my family. It was, as we say here in New England, wicked fun. They are all much faster than I am. My brother Jim, nephew Jack, niece Annie, and husband Dan all crossed the finish line10 minutes or more before I did. But I finished—with no passing out, vomiting or injuring myself. So I call it a success. 
            After showering and doing a little baking in my mother’s kitchen we headed over to my sister Katie’s house. After devouring enough Brie en croute for a small city in France (not to mention proscuito, red wine, salami, and gorgonzola-walnut spread) and waiting for the football game to be over (GO PATS!) dinner was served. Katie and her family had ingeniously put together tables in the living room in such a way that all twenty of us could sit down at one large t-shaped table. Having a kids’ table would be torturous to some members of our youngest generation who are rapidly turning into adults. I would love to show you a picture of the set up, but I was having so much fun I didn’t take my camera out all day.
            Somehow we all managed to leave room for dinner—potatoes, squash, turnip, stuffing, cornbread, sweet potato bacon biscuits, peas (I think there may have even been turkey and gravy). As a family, we aren’t big grace-sayers, but my lovely sister-in-law Kim raised her glass at the beginning of the meal to give thanks for our wonderful family. I looked around and thought about how true that was. Not only do I love everyone who sat at that table, but I genuinely like everyone who had gathered. What a blessing! As much as I enjoyed the meal, it was the warmth and companionship I enjoyed most of all. Long after the plates had been cleared we continued to sit and talk. If it weren’t for our long drive home, I could have stayed for hours more. My boys were teary-eyed when we told them it was time to say goodbye to their cousins.
            So today is marvelous and mellow day. Leftover cornbread for breakfast followed by a day of reading, playing games with the kids, a little writing, and maybe an afternoon cuddled up watching a movie together. After that I’ll be spending a little time in the kitchen whipping up a batch of tortilla soup (perfect dish for a rainy day) and another apple pie (I was just too full to fully appreciate my favorite dessert yesterday). I wish you all a happy and unproductive “National Buy Nothing, Drink Tea and Wear Sweatpants Day”.

It isn't Thanksgiving without a chorus or two of "Alice's Restaurant"