Friday, October 1, 2010
With the long anticipated arrival of autumn, bringing with it the closeness of the holiday season, I found myself reflecting on holidays past. The most recent holiday gathering hosted at our house was Easter. Our daughters are 25, 23, 22, and 19 and my question is this: When do I get to stop preparing Easter baskets? Oh, and please don't let me forget the son-in-law. Come on now. When exactly is old enough, old enough? While in Wal-Mart two nights before Easter this year, I was on an aisle with a couple about the same age as hubby and myself. The woman picked up some little chicks that chirp in your hand and her hubby told her that he would not be able to stand that noise. As I passed them I commented, "At least you aren't buying for children who are grown." She looked at me a bit sheepishly and replied, "Actually, that's exactly who we're buying for." At least I know I am not alone.
Ever since I was a little girl my grandmother and mother were in charge of holiday meals. There was a rare Thanksgiving or two over the years when I attempted to prepare that big family meal but it was not anywhere near as good as theirs. Even on those Christmases when everyone came to our house, they prepared the meals. And I was really, really ok with that arrangement. However, no one bothered to tell me that, as we all got older, I would be expected to take over (that's what happens when you have 3 brothers and no sisters I guess). So now, when they come to my house, I prepare the holiday meals (OR, as was the case last Christmas and we went to married daughter M's new house, where I still prepared the meals and goodies). I'm beginning to think that holiday meal preparations are way overrated.
I started cooking the night before (Easter Eve, if you will) and preparing things like chopped onions, celery, mushroom stems; getting the ham ready to go in the oven; cooking the turkey, green bean casserole and brown rice casserole. We were having a diverse group in terms of eating habits (thanks to our college daughters politely inviting a few friends who did not go home for the holiday weekend) so I added salmon to the meat selections and added a few vegan dishes to the menu which included many traditional favorites such as deviled eggs and macaroni and cheese casserole. We ended up with only 10 for this lovingly prepared meal (and I say only because if everyone had been able to come we would have had 20+) that everyone seemed to enjoy. Even better than the food, though, was the fellowship. I love the dialogue of a family gathering. there is playful banter, catching up, and even some serious pieces of talk but not to the point of arguing. Everyone is relaxed and feels free to be themselves in these situations. There is no other event that I look forward to more than a family gathering. Even Tucker was tuckered out from playing with his doggie cousins and maybe from all the handouts he got from the table.
Of course, there was that moment when our youngest asked if there was mac and cheese. "Yes!" I replied enthusiastically since I know it's her fave. "Did Mimi make it, or did you?" she asked. Oh well, here's to the coming of Thanksgiving this year--which I am hoping will be hosted by my brother T and his wife since Mimi lives right next door and can easily prepare the mac and cheese.