Thanksgiving in the US is the fourth Thursday of November. In the well-known Norman Rockwell painting,an idyllic family gathers around the table anticipating a hearty meal of Turkey and all the trimmings. As a child, I wanted to crawl into that painting. It seemed warm and inviting and “normal,” whatever that means.
I’ve lived a storied history around T-Day. Our family arrived in the US from Canada on Thanksgiving day in 1966. Our own Thanksgiving was a month earlier, catching us unaware. My father moved the family to California so my parents could afford to put three girls through college. We sold our Canadian home in June, but delayed visas landed us in the States months later than planned. We arrived to changed circumstances.
A California nursery hired Dad to manage the business, but in the interim months, the owner filed for bankruptcy. We were on foreign soil, savings depleted with no paycheck in the foreseeable future.
Dad eventually got on his feet, but within three years, he died from lung cancer. My dad was a horticulturist by trade, a man who loved children and animals. He was creative, caring and kind. His death drove a freight train through my heart and left a black spot on the holiday season for the long-foreseeable future.
What have I learned all these years later? It’s okay to be different. Traditions aren’t carved in stone. No one lives in a Norman Rockwell painting (and if they did they would probably be insufferable)! Hosting Thanksgiving in my home, with a new set of traditions is liberating. We take the democratic approach to meal-planning. Three of us are vegetarians, so turkey is off the table. Our guests have a number of food sensitivities, so gluten and dairy factor in as well. I want everyone to enjoy themselves, which means a free-floating, easy-going day without expectations.
For that, I give thanks.
Thanksgiving Day Menu, Prepared by Chef Mike
- Pasta with Marinara Sauce
- Green salad
- Steamed broccoli
- Mashed potatoes
- Garlic Bread
- Sourdough Bread
- Apple Pie, a la mode
- Pumpkin pie with whipped topping
Sparkling cider, apple cider, apple juice and wine
What do you know?
The Normal Rockwell painting I envision this time of year was actually published in the spring! It’s one of four paintings, inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt entitled Freedom from Want. Read on…