Photo: Brussels sprouts roasted with duck fat, ya’ll. I cannot emphasize the deliciousness enough. The joy comes from these two things being delicious in their own rights, but put them together and it’s magic. Om nom nom nom…
Well, Dear Reader, how did you do? How was your dinner of everything and nothing? Did your family behave? Did you, yourself, behave? It’s a legit question. Sometimes we are the ones who are the fire starters (if you know you’ve got the power, you can use it wisely!).
I spent my day crafting and chatting with the family in Maryland. Everyone was gathering at my aunt’s house. I was warned that Auntie wasn’t in a fantastic mood. “She was in a bit of a panic when she called me yesterday,” my uncle said. “The guest count had jumped from 11 to 15.”
“Say what?” I asked, scandalized.
“Oh yes, [kin-folk by marriage] called her yesterday askin’ if they could come over. Because you know that [cousin] and [cousin’s wife] are separated and so…”
I’ll spare you the juicy gossip, but needless to say, extra folk showed up for dinner in Maryland yesterday. When I made the inevitable call to my aunt, she did not mince words:
“I told your uncle this mornin’ that I’m not doin’ this shit next year!”
“And what do you do? You’re makin’ duck, right? You know, your uncle and I absolutely love duck! We’re comin’ to Boston next year! I’m shutting this thing down!”
I listened sympathetically. She’ll forget in a month or two. We’ll get to next year and nothing will have changed: duck will be in my oven, dinner for 4 an easy affair, and all of the people will gather at my Aunt’s house in Maryland for a most excellent feast.
But my Quiet Thoughts were about the thrilling moment when I actually entertained the idea of hosting everyone here for Thanksgiving next year. The last time Mom was here in Massachusetts, I was having surgery last spring. She stayed for 3 days and then she was gone. For all the talking and texting we do, there has never been any mention of coming back. She hates this place. She’s content to wait the 6 months until we make the drive down. My aunt has never been up… and we haven’t hosted a Thanksgiving in forever.
My house isn’t the largest, and Lord knows I’d probably use this little blog to complain and complain about the preparations… but wow, for a moment there, all I wanted in the whole world was to host Thanksgiving next year. If nothing more than to have a full house, to enjoy the laughter and warmth, the convergence of stories that Thanksgiving is supposed to have.
It’s silliness. It’s the homesickness sneaking up on me. Thanksgiving for 4 is a blessing. Duck is a blessing. The boys enjoyed time outside with their father, I spent the entire day in my pajamas and watched the Dirty Jobs marathon, there was no fighting, no worries… the duck was succulent and sumptuous, all the sides were enjoyed to the fullest, and those pies I bought at Wegmans were better than I expected them to be! I even got my Christmas cards ordered! (Yo, seriously, Snapfish is having the sale of all sales. 75% of Christmas cards? Dude. Ridiculous.) It was a great day. No reason to want for anything more.
I’m reminded that, like grief, homesickness has a way of creeping in and becoming overwhelming. I find a lot of ways to keep Maryland with me. I find more ways to hold Maryland at arms-length. It’s in the involuntary moments when it all comes crashing down.
Who knows what next year will bring? I doubt it will be a rush of all of Maryland folk up to my little farmhouse here in Massachusetts. Then again, stranger things have happened. Matter of fact, 2018 might have a whole bunch of surprises.
It’s a chilly night with a little bit of moonlight. Christmas lights can already be seen in the neighborhood. The fox, I think, has returned to the barn. Christmas shopping might be just about done already… just a few things left to get. Christmas cards get here on the 4th, so I need to get this Christmas letter drafted. So much left to do this holiday weekend! Hope you have happy plans, Dear Reader!
As always, I have wishes for you this Friday. They are quick and simple, actually: I wish you a good story told by someone older than you. It can be about anything, but I hope it’s a little long and full of details you haven’t heard before. I hope there is are some revelations that illuminate other stories of your life. I wish you a chance to tell your own good story. Something that will make the people who are listening roar with laughter. I wish you a recipe that makes your heart sing and takes you back to a place and a time gone by. Bonus points if you watch the making and figure out the magic so you can make it at home. I wish you time with the generation to come, listening to their language and seeing the world as they see it. Theirs is the future. Appreciate them for what they are and honor the stories they are writing for themselves. I wish you safe travels, very quick clean-up, or joyful shopping for the people you love. This is the season for doing it all, but knowing it’s all worth it.
And I wish you a moment of being reminded by someone who loves you that you are, indeed, loved. That what you do matters. That you bring a little bit of light and joy when you walk in a room. Be here for it, Dear Reader. All of it.
Until Monday, take care.