The day of food is such a good day. When else do you have the excuse to put gravy on everything, and even if it mixes with the cranberries, you marvel at the surprisingly good combination it makes? And after a plate that held seven or eight dishes comes the pumpkin (or better yet, pecan or apple) pie?
When my wife, Andrea, and I lived in Montana, New York and Florida, we almost always hosted the day. Once in Bozeman, Mont., my housemates and I served dinner for what must have been 200 people, most of whom were snowboarders and ski bums looking for a free meal. Eight turkeys later, out came the aforementioned pumpkin pies (unknowingly) without sugar. The creations lasted about three minutes.
In all of these places, our friends were our family plane tickets or driving 14 hours were typically hard to rationalize, so we hardly ever traveled back home. But now that we have found our way back to Durango, we leave the cooking to my dad and his wife and enjoy the company of siblings, cousins and aunts and uncles. And to be honest, its nice to come home with a full belly and a clean kitchen.
But you know what the best part of the day is (no, not the gravy/cranberry combo)? Its that moment when the 11 of us all sit down full plates and full glasses and appreciate why we are all here.
Sometimes sharing a meal is much more than just the food. Its seeing my dad happy; my nieces and nephew growing up into mature, vibrant and talented kids (and teenagers, ugh); my sister and her husband raising those impressive kids while making sure not to forget about themselves and what makes their relationship so important; and knowing my mom will soon take some time for herself and enjoy the rewards of a successful career (the kids are ready with their grandma-to-do list).
And it is about watching my family become part of this community. I am blessed to have an amazingly talented and supportive wife who is shaping the lives of two amazingly talented kids. This week, I took my daughter to her annual wellness visit at the pediatricians office and we walked by one of those little scales for newborns. Eight years ago she could have fit on that scale, but today she is writing stories on an iPad, listening to music that I am not familiar with and getting pumped for another ski season. I wish she would always be sitting at the kids table, but I know before long shell be asking to move up to major leagues the adult table. You know, the one that has gravy.
Truly, life is good, and it is important to remember why someone decided to call it Thanksgiving. Its a day to not think about the economy, politics, the cost of living or even who has the best deals on Black Friday.
It is a day to share what you have with those who dont, appreciate those across the table even if it is someone you just met.
And give thanks.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.