I was in the supermarket yesterday, the Monday before Thanksgiving, shopping for things like milk and lettuce and olives, when I noticed all of the extra displays at the ends of the aisles. Big towers of string beans and yams and chicken broth and onions, those crispy onions in the can. “What is going on?” I said to myself, well, maybe to the person next to me, too, at the yogurt. What do they think it is, Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving was last week.
We’ve been eating leftovers since Tuesday. That would be the Tuesday before, well, Wednesday. Last Wednesday. In our house this year, the thanking took place early. We live far from family, something like 1500 miles, okay 1546 miles, if you drive. If you drive 23 hours and 48 minutes. Far, however you figure it. So, we don’t visit on specified holidays. We visit when we need to, or can. Mostly, Mom does the visiting because she is one person and we are three.
“I am going to be in the neighborhood the third week of November,” she said from the phone in New York. “I’ll stop off on the way back.” The “neighborhood” was Florida. We are in Texas. It is all relative, especially when you are a relative.
“Fabulous, we will have Thanksgiving. Better, we will have Thanksgiving on Daphne’s birthday,” I said. “It will be so festive, two celebrations at once.” Growing up, we generally hit the holidays on the actual day, but as college and work and doctors’ call schedules interfered, we began to choose times when everyone was around, regardless of the calendar. We usually got the month right, but sometimes we didn’t. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t about the sun and the moon. It was about us.
So, I went to the supermarket when everybody else was buying milk and lettuce and olives and loaded up the wagon with string beans and yams and pecan pie and a colossal 16 pound turkey. We got homework done quickly and got out the carving knives and set the table with a pilgrim cloth I purchased in August. And we turned 14 and opened presents and told funny stories and tried the cranberries again, but still didn’t like them. Which is just fine. We can taste them again, next June.