I don’t take too much time off my writing and authoring business. From the time I was starting out as a writer and my first fiction teacher Anne Lamott said, “Write 300 words a day and in a year you’ll have a novel,” I’ve done that. At least 300 words a day, no matter what, vacation, illness, you name it. Often, I do more, but there are the days where I don’t write. I don’t feel compelled to tell people about my latest book (Oh, yeah, Intimate Beings!). And one of those days is Thanksgiving, yesterday.
But Thanksgiving can be problematic for other reasons. Some people just do not like the menu. What, exactly, is someone supposed to do if he or she doesn't like turkey? I mean, doesn’t like the meat, the flavor of it. What if the same person who hates turkey doesn't like to eat too many carbs? You know, the kind of carbs that are in potatoes and stuffing. This could prove to be a bit disappointing, as no matter where you went on Thanksgiving, there it would be: turkey. Yes, people try to do things with it. There is the intense operation in the kettle like turkey deep fryer. There's the brining, the roasting, the stuffing under the skin with herbs and lemon and garlic. There's the turkey breast only. There are the special garnishes. But, in the final analysis, turkey every time.
I love turkey. I love it because it's bland and absorbs the taste of gravy and salt and pepper. I love the disgusting crackly crunch of turkey skin. Yes, I am a carnivore from way back, and I know I could eat myself through a mastodon. Please don't say anything about eating nothing with eyes. I don't eat eyes, but I will eat pretty much else what you can present me (organ meats, not so much, but I'll give it a small go if you serve it politely). I love the gobs of mashed potatoes with butter. The stuffing sticky with turkey drippings. Yes, I will eat some vegetables, but don't you dare eat that last scoop of potatoes.
But my boyfriend Michael? A turkey disdainer, though he tries to make it a happy thing by doing fancy turkey tricks. He's a master briner, a roaster par excellence. But in the final analysis, pass him some fish, which, as we know, makes more Native American sense. And after all, they were half of the original invited guest list.
He's not into potatoes or stuffing. And because there is a long slightly strange white person tradition in my family of the canned jellied cranberry sauce (the kind that comes out with a sound and has the tin marks on it), he forgoes the sauce. He often suggests we make our own, but no one will eat it. We want to cut down the tubular body of the cranberry sauce and hope it doesn't fly off the serving plate.
The good news for him is that we don't do whipped potatoes with marshmallows, but I think that might be our only saving grace.
But Thanksgiving isn't about the food, really, and Michael knows that. This year, our first together in this house, the first together while living together, is about bringing our lives together in one place. His daughter, my sons, my mother. One table, the table we bought together. A bird that we both figured out how to cook together (it's going to be a brined bird this year). Ugly sauce, lots o' carbs, and pie. But family first. Us first. Here.