Thanksgiving morning, Plymouth, Mass., America's Hometown. I woke and the house was quiet, save for the whir of the fridge and the occasional ticking of the subfloor heating ducts. Seven were due for dinner at 2:00, and I had a delectible feast to make. While everyone else slept, I sat at the kitchen table and made a detailed work plan for the day, not because I am meticulously organized but because my writing experience has taught me to break down the big projects into small steps. Then you only have to think about the next thing on the list, not the overwhelming whole.
Thus satisfied, I took my tea cup to Facebook. Friends everywhere were posting inspirational Thanksgiving messages and warm wishes. People had put quotes from Thoreau (or was it Emerson?) on their status. Bloggers dug up the most rare and beautiful poetry they could find. And in response to all this, I thought: " ."
Translation: Nothing. Big flat blank.
I tried to get into the spirit and posted "Happy Day" on the Lindsays Facebook page. A few people "liked" it. You liked that? Thanks.
Maybe it's just me, but I'm thankful enough most days of the year, and on Thanksgiving morning, I was not thankful. No. I was overtired and feeling a bit wedded to crushing clove after clove of garlic, picking and chopping fresh sage, and getting grossed out when I had to slide my herb butter-covered hands under the turkey's skin to separate it from the flabby flesh. Our turkey came as a gift from our bestest organic farmer friends, and I had brined it for 24 hours. It smelled a little funny.
Then I went to work organizing the potatoes, the squash, the carrots, the sweet potatoes, the peas, the corn, the stuffing, the rolls-of-bread-in-a-can, and the molded cranberry sauce that only my sister eats. Oh, and also cleaning up the house, which looked a little like Kabul on October 7, 2001. (Coincidentally, that's about the last time we dusted.)
In the middle of this, one of the guests called and admitted that he'd eaten part of the the bread he was supposed to be bringing. Having spent more than $250 on food, beer, and wine in multiple shopping trips, and having been up most of the night before cooking pies and a butternut squash bisque, and now in the middle of trying to get it all organized while also foolishly and mindlessly tending to our resident diva, who lately has learned to shout orders in a booming voice (for a four year old) from the living room, I did what any sane person would do. I took a deep breath, exhaled, thought about my response, surrounded myself with white light, smiled, levitated just a little, and said in my softest, most gentle and sensitive voice, "GEEZ! AFTER I SPENT TWO DAYS COOKING ALL THIS FOOD AND DOING ALL THIS, YOU CAN'T EVEN BRING A FULL LOAF OF BREAD?!?!"
I got hung up on. (I'm very, very uptight, you know.)
In the spirit of Thankgiving, I spent the next ten minutes in silent yet heated conversation with all those who would categorize my superhuman energy level as some form of neurosis. Then I did like the unions: I announced that at COB Thankgiving Day, there would be a work stoppage. Soul Mama's on strike. What this means is that you might not get a Christmas card this year. Not because I don't love you, but because I've put myself on a low-stress diet, where I sit around and eat fudge all day and someone else does all the work. If you need me this Christmas, I'll be on the couch in the middle of a crush of beer cans, farting.
This Thanksgiving weekend, what am I thankful for? That's it's over. Oh, and that I learned to say what lots of very sane people have been saying for a very long time: "Oh, the hell with it."
The reason for the season, indeed. This, people, is why once a year we gather together, like Samoset and Squanto, with the Saints and Strangers who gave us the small pox blankets: because they're here to stay, we're outnumbered, and we have only two choices—shake hands and break bread, or resist and perish.
Plus, it reminds us that it's really okay to get up at 4 am the next day and get as many gifts out of the way as quickly as possible and with as little thought as possible at Black Friday's doorbuster sales. Then, we're free to spend the rest of the month singing carols, baking cookies, and driving around town light-peeping.
Yes, yes. I'll get right on that. Right after I finish this beer.