No. 1 Kid, normally my most stable child, went nuts just before Thanksgiving and announced a plan to spend her holiday days off cooking, and then driving several hundred miles distributing food to family in two states.
"What are you going to when you get here?" I asked. "Stand outside in the car port and throw it through the window? And then we shout at each other?"
Note to self: If this is going to happen, move favorite chair next to window.
We talked her out of it, but I do admit I trained her well. Our Thanksgivings were always cooking together so that the last half hour before the meal the kitchen was a hot mess of yelling people, all working on their specific dishes, slicing and carving, stirring the sweet potatoes, mashing the snot out of the white potatoes, yelling for cream and butter, and watching the dog show on television, laying bets on one pooch or another. The pilgrims at Plymouth did not have the Westminster Dog Show to season their meal prep.
I will miss that part. And the part where No. 2 Kid goes into the kitchen at meal's end and gets the first load in the dishwasher. Pilgrims didn't have dishwashers either. And the post dinner sandwich of soft white roll, cranberry sauce, mayo and leftover turkey.
We divide to conquer this Thanksgiving, facing an invisible threat that none of us ever thought possible.
It will be an interesting after story. All the people obliged to cook their first turkey. Trying to figure out the ingredients in gravy.
We have all learned those things the hard way. The ladies and I used to sit around and exchange turkey horror stories. My favorite was always Dorothy's where her husband bought a bird so big that they had to leave the oven door ajar.
But the image that will stick in my head this Thanksgiving are the pictures of long lines of cars — people lined up to get the makings of a Thanksgiving meal. I am a plump and lucky person. My children and grandchildren are self-sufficient and healthy. So far.
I have books and television and Netflix and neighbors who bring food and another book to write. And a car to get to the drive-thru at the Dairy Queen.
So before this holiday gets too far away, let's think of how badly things are going for those living on the edge in these unprecedented times. People who have lost their jobs, or had to stay home and care for their kids. We will have a mess to clean up when this is over. But for now, let's keep people fed.
Ask your kids to skip Christmas gifts for over-fed fat ladies — though a box of chocolates wouldn't go amiss — and turn that gift money to good use. Feed your neighbors though donations to SnowCap, the Salvation Army or any agency you trust to do a good job.
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