Thursday, November 25, 2010

a happy thanksgiving (lyn)

My sisters and their families arrive today.  Later, my aunt and her husband come.  Then Cynthia and Elizabeth.  And finally, my nephew, his wife and the star of the day-their 2-year old daughter Avalie.  

In total, 20 of us celebrate Thanksgiving together. 

My immediate family of 13 is all dressed, ready and hungry by 1.  The other guests have been invited for 3:30.  It’s a long wait.  Appetizers are put out early but we are told not to eat until everyone arrives.  It’s not easy sitting around oozing baked brie, crackers, shrimp cocktail,  creamed herring, and those little pigs in a blanket.  But somehow we manage.

By 4:30, the house is full.  Football, food and photos before the big meal.  It’s just as Thanksgiving should be. 

I pose with Valerie (left), my mom and Jean, and alone with Alexander.

And every year my dad carves the turkey.

Jim, Jean’s husband, is the most spiritual one in our family.  He always gives a nice toast, and my father usually adds to it.  This is, hands down, my dad’s happiest day of the year.  A few times I even catch him sitting and just observing the room with a quiet smile.  He is immensely proud of his family.

I heard somewhere on TV that the average Thanksgiving meal is about 4500 calories.  Adam’s plate, always the biggest, could be even more.

Everything is great.  I have some turkey, cranberry sauce, very little squash (I’m not a huge fan of the marshmallows inside it), peas (just a few), my mother’s amazing stuffing (passed down from her mother), mashed potatoes, and gravy.  I skip the candied yams as I always do. 

I’m not sure how this tradition started, but after the meal, the men drift from the table to watch football, and the women clean up.  We are a liberal family, but the men in it never seem to participate in the table clearing.  I think at home they do, but not at big family gatherings. 

Dessert is amazing.  I skip the birthday cake (Alexander, Sally, and Adam all have birthdays in November and December) but eat everything else.  I have a small piece of blueberry pie, a small piece of apple pie, and some fruit.   Alexander convinces me to also have a homemade mini chocolate-in-chocolate tart.

The day is marked with good food, conversation and much laughter.  I must have one of the funniest families.  It’s one more thing, among many, for which I’m deeply grateful. 

A few hours after dinner and dessert and three football games, the kids start making the Thanksgiving sandwiches. I finally say no to something.

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