So it’s Thanksgiving and at the moment I’m thankful for Fannie getting me up and moving this morning. We’re just taking it easy today. No big meals. No pressure to get up and get going. It will be a simple kind of day that I will simply cherish.
Like our walk to the park first thing in the cold crisp November air. I remember when the restaurant that sits in the heart of the park called Bartolatta’s was a little coffee shop in a park pavilion with spinning bar stools and a few small tables. I remember how good coffee and a hamburger tasted after a long walk with my son Charlie in his baby stroller. Maybe that’s why I bought hamburger yesterday instead of the traditional Thanksgiving fixings…
Todd and I had met after work to pick up some groceries for the long awaited long weekend. The store we were at used to have a counter where you could stop and eat while getting your groceries. You could get a hamburger grilled fresh from the meat counter. They would let you uncork a bottle of wine from your grocery cart and give you two glasses. We used to stop there on Saturday afternoons after errands. Since Amazon bought the store the counter has come down.
So we bought hamburger and I’m going to make chili instead of turkey. Todd doesn’t like turkey and more and more a larger sort of meal is becoming a thing of the past for us. Life is getting simpler. I like that and the direction we’re headed, but as Fannie and I were walking home, I found myself absorbed in aroma memories of past Thanksgiving preparations. We were alone on the boulevard except for a man and a woman coming our direction on the other side of the street. The woman was moving much faster than the man. “What do you have left to cook?” He hollered.
“Mashed potatoes!” She hollered back. I had a sudden urge to jump in the car, head to the store and buy some turkey. And shrimp! (That came after the morning Stollen—butter spread on thick slices that were then dunked in steaming hot chocolate or coffee—when the game was in full swing, Mom always brought out a platter of fresh shrimp.) And brussel sprouts!
For years I would make Brussel sprouts every Thanksgiving for my dad because I thought they were his favorite. ‘I’ve got your Brussel sprouts, Dad!’ I would say as he walked into the kitchen. The last holiday we had together he told me he didn’t like Brussel sprouts. ‘Dad! Why didn’t you ever tell me that?’ ‘I don’t know, sweetheart,’ he said, ‘I thought you liked them.’ I learned to like them after all those years and now I love them—roasted in the oven or pan fried with prosciutto. I really want some brussel sprouts.
“You have the green beans, right?” The man on the street hollered again interrupting my thoughts. “And the stuffing goes in the oven, right?” The woman was too far ahead and he was doing his best to keep up as Fannie and I headed home. Todd was up making coffee and I settled onto my corner of the couch, realizing there comes a time when family traditions lie within your heart if not in your home. Things change, people leave, appetite, health, energy, schedules and priorities change. So I sit in my room with a view and can see out over all the years of my life, and my heart is full.
Charlie calls and we talk for over an hour, it’s a deep conversation. I can feel him listening as I go off on tangents and am able to find my way back to making my point. He understands me. He talks and I take in his words as if getting and giving back the biggest hug.
“You’re an artist,” I begin to quote the line I remember from the movie we watched last night. “People like you have to create or you become a menace to society.”* Charlie laughs out loud and I give thanks. There were so many years where I tried too hard, he’d get quiet and irritated like I would at one time with my parents. Those were short, choppy conversations that I usually felt guilty about afterwards. But ours are long and flowing and when time seems to stop, you just know you’re with someone who gets you.
And that’s how I feel as I think about you. You mean more to me than I can express in words but just know that even though I can’t see you, our connection is like getting and giving a huge hug. I can feel you there listening and I am listening to you. Maybe your house isn’t filled with people and the wonderful aromas of Thanksgiving past, or maybe it is, either way, may your heart be filled to overflowing this special day that reminds us of all those who have gone before us, paving the way.
Happy thanks giving always–
*”Where’d You Go Bernadette?”
Photo: Alexander Schmmeck, Unsplash