At one time it was all about food, and a begrudging insistence upon attending a loud and discordant get-together with strangers you knew personally. But being present and being loved are two different things. Eventually, if you’re earnest, you sort this out, and search for a new tradition.
For a long time, I’d been searching for Thanksgiving. All the tropes and universally-accepted meanings were there, but the deep-down understanding was elusive. History and culture muddle everything, like silt in water. You ask yourself stupid cultural-caché math questions, like “How many people make a family?” Or, “Is my home big enough to host?” Or, “Will they like what I bring?” And by then you’ve already lost the meaning. Thanksgiving was already lost.
Years went by.
Then one day, I noticed Thanksgiving on our doorstep. On another day, Thanksgiving was snuggled warmly in our bed. On our garden wall, in our cozy kitchen, nestled in with our aging cat – Thanksgiving was everywhere with us, throughout the year. On the day, I roasted a hen with rosemary and sage, made mushroom and onion gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry orange sauce, candied yams, and green-bean casserole. Enough for us for a week. While we ate, Thanksgiving filled our home, echoed in our laughter, and warmed in our love.
‘Till next time.