Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Twas the day 'fore Thanksgiving...

I don't know about you, but I'm getting older, and I don't understand how it's happening so quickly. As a result, there are things that I'm learning I need to do to mark the passage of time. Time is like a cranky cat - you need to squeeze it awkwardly to your chest once in a while, even if it's going to scratch you and slink away anyway.

I'm an extrovert, an interacter, and that is as true for time as it is for people. I want to celebrate holidays, follow sports seasons, and participate in seasonal rituals so that I can orient myself, stay right side up in a place without traditional seasons. So I throw barbecues, go pumpkin picking, and celebrate friends' birthdays (a la my last post) to have markers, big red X's in my mental calendar.

Thanksgiving is a mastodon of memory (trademarking that). Every year I make my grandma's stuffing, the only time that I cook meat in our vegetarian house, and the only time I work myself up to sentimental tears while cooking. It's a bacon-studded bread bomb, and I dream about it starting in July. I can flip through my photos of Thanksgiving over the last seven years and see the same core group of friends together, albeit in different kitchens, with different outfits and different hairstyles, and sometimes different partners. It's comforting, especially when actual family is far away.

My adherence to my own traditions is part of the reason I thought this piece from Michael Chabon was really lovely; it's also extremely well written. ("In the woods that surrounded the main building, according to no discernible plan, stood a bunch of cabins and outbuildings submerged in perpetual deep-green shade. Manka's had not been built so much as accumulated, like boots on a porch.") His family does the opposite of most - they go somewhere different for Thanksgiving each year. They carve the holiday out of their changing circumstances and relationships. My group of friends (college friends who met on move-in day in 2001, no less) straddles the line between the traditional and the new: we all get together to drink and eat and cuddle, but we also play Will It Fry? with the deep fryer and make halfhearted attempts to play kickball.

I don't have any kind of big point here, other than the fact that I'm grateful for the love of my friends and family. I also really can't wait to chow down. And now, a Thanksgiving retrospective.

2011 (2010 Mike and I were in India)