Halloween is over. Luckily we had a ton of trick-or-treaters and there was not one piece of candy left for me to shove into my mouth. The neighborhood kids are angels for helping me to stick to my diet.
Oona was in for a visit this past weekend and the two of us delightfully answered the door and “ohhhh and ahhhhh-ed” at all the wonderful costumes.
I miss making Halloween costumes for my kids. It was so much fun–Oona as Pebbles. Roman as a drowned Titanic passenger and Jake as The Penguin!
Sunday, November 1st, the day after Halloween, Bonaparte and I, along with Chippy the wonderdog, drove Oona to New York’s LaGuardia Airport from our home in the Philly suburbs. It was also the day of the New York Marathon–something neither of us realized until the night before!
Thanks to the Marathon, I was unable to get across the Verrazano Bridge–either way!
Our only entryway into Queens was to drive to the George Washington Bridge, which was the only bridge opened. We then drove across the island of Manhattan at Dykman Street and took the Harlem River Drive to the Triboro Bridge.
It was worse for Oona. Once she boarded the plane there was an announcement that the pilot forgot he had a flight and they had to wait for him. American Airlines–thankfully, the pilot wasn’t in a bar drinking!
I’m getting off track here. Driving Oona to the airport was basically easy peasy. No traffic to speak of. But…we got a look at the traffic leaving the city and it was one big mess. The Verrazano was closed. The Queensboro Bridge was closed and the George Washington Bridge was the only way back.
Nahhh..It wasn’t. We just redirected ourselves and took the Queens Midtown Tunnel into Manhattan and the Lincoln Tunnel to the Jersey Turnpike. It was the first time we had NEVER hit traffic leaving NYC to go home.
And my point is this—when we arrived back into our development, I noticed Christmas lights on one of the homes down the street. The day after Halloween. Christmas lights were flashing.
OK..so this is an exaggeration. It isn’t the house down the street. It’s Mr. Martell’s house in Hamilton, New Jersey–the BEST decorated house in Central Jersey. But the house down the street DID have their Christmas lights flashing!
A few houses down were those little welcome candle lights that people put in their windows at Christmas time. The day after Halloween. And…directly across the street from us stood a lighted Christmas tree in our neighbor’s living room. The day afterHalloween.
Yes. It’s the tree of Christmas and it is directly across from me! I could not believe it!
Which brings me to wonder. What the Hell happened to Thanksgiving?
Yeah–but what about Thanksgiving?
I’ll admit it; Thanksgiving has never been my favorite Holiday. Growing up in the 1960’s, in an age of convenience, my mother had the deli across the street “cater” the turkey with all the trimmings. The only part of the turkey that I liked was the dark meat and I could only eat it on a sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce. I cannot stand turkey.
I don’t like pumpkin pie. I despise green bean casserole. Sausage stuffing gives me heartburn. I only like bread stuffing and cranberry sauce. And the cranberry sauce has to be the jellied kind. My four other siblings also liked cranberry sauce so there would be massive fights at the dinner table to see who got the most cranberry sauce. Then my sister Theresa would start to cry because Thanksgiving was supposed to be about giving thanks and we were acting like animals. Then my mother would get in on the act and give us all that “pursed lip mom is pissed off” look. My father would just sigh and light up a cigarette. At the dinner table.
Honest to God, I think Norman Rockwell was delusional. We’ve NEVER had a Thanksgiving that resembled THIS picture. Never!!!!
Thanksgiving became worse for me when I got married. My mother-in-law had a rather “strong” personality. OK? That meant we had to travel up to Connecticut every Thanksgiving. While the night before Thanksgiving was usually fun—especially when the entire family was visiting, the next day was more stressful. Some family members would attend the local high school’s football game. They would bring flasks. Before sipping from the flask, there would be a lot of beer consumed. I’m talkin’ early in the morning. Are you catching my drift? Along with my distain of turkey is an even stronger distain of beer. Need I say more?
Sometimes it just sucks to be sober.
Jake, in Kindergarten at St. Ignatius Loyola in NYC. He was an Indian–Oops–I mean “Native American” at his class Thanksgiving. It was most likely the most refined Thanksgiving celebration he’s ever taken part in!
That being said, my mother-in-law couldn’t sit still. Her pressure cooker whistling away, working swiftly, she would have that dinner on the table in two minutes—and would be clearing the table the second the last guest sat down to eat. It was “extra” special during the years that her oldest son was not in attendance. She would sit at the table and cry—literally cry because Richard wasn’t there. I cannot make this up.
My solace came in the form of the great desserts she made. My mother-in-law was an amazing baker—and no matter how many times I asked her for recipes—she would never give me any! Her “Texas Chocolate Cake” became my bestie during those Thanksgivings because I would lock myself in the attic with a few slices and a glass of milk and pray that the weekend would end. I gave thanks because that Texas Chocolate Cake saved my sanity during quite a few Thanksgivings!
Then Oona became a competitive Irish Dancer. And Thanksgiving dinner took on new meaning.
No. It isn’t Oona dressed in a Native American headdress. Nor is she Medusa. This is how she sat at the Thanksgiving dinner table for a few years before the curly wigs came into fashion for the Irish Dancers.
The Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas (as in Oh-rock-this)—Irish Dance regionals were held on Thanksgiving weekend every year. That meant cooking turkey with all the trimmings, scarfing down the meal and immediately after dinner, Oona and I would head for three days of competition at the Downtown Marriott in Philly.
Ten Thanksgiving weekends were spent with Irish Dance friends. And we had a great, great time!
My sons gave thanks for three days of football –turning the house into a man cave of sorts.
I’ve had Thanksgiving disasters in the form of the year we had Turducken. The chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey. Each form of bird layered with a strange stuffing. Turducken tastes like shit. However, my sons ate it with no problem.
Turducken. It was horrific and worse than regular turkey!
One year, to save time, I decided to let Wegman’s “cook” my turkey. What I never realized was that the “cooked” turkey was only partially cooked. I’m not even going to explain that disaster.
Later on, as the kids got older, we started to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at my sister Germaine’s home out on Long Island. Even then, I would have to listen to Bonaparte fret about how bad the traffic back to the Philly burbs would be. But it was always great to get back to Long Island and enjoy the traditional meal with my sister and her family and all the kids!
Last year Bonaparte and I spent Thanksgiving at home. Just the two of us. Oona was visiting my brother and his family in Texas. Roman had to work the parade so he and Jake spent dinner with my ex-husband.
I roasted pheasant and baked bread and we had a nice bottle of wine. I was thankful we did not have turkey. But I missed the kids.
This year, Bonaparte and I are meeting the kids in Manhattan. Oona will be flying in from a business trip in Toronto and then coming home with us. Roman has to work the cue cards for the parade. Jake made reservations at Claudette, a French restaurant and we will enjoy our Thanksgiving meal in the heart of Greenwich Village.
I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner here at Claudette!
Naturally, Bonaparte had me call the restaurant to see if there were choices besides turkey for the main plat. *Sigh* My Frenchman. I am happy to say that Bonaparte is giving thanks that Claudette’s chef is French and is offering more than turkey. Oh let’s all give thanks for that one!
In spite of all my complaining though, Thanksgiving still IS a holiday. And despite the family drama and the yelling and screaming and stress of it all, this holiday shouldn’t be hidden by the Halloween festivities or the prepping for Christmas.
Seriously. Let’s not forget this day. It’s sad but this was the only sign of Thanksgiving in Walmart today….and this…
What a sad looking display!
Let’s put the stress and the yelling and the screaming and the fighting and the drama with our families on the table and give thanks for all that noise that families bring to the plate!
You can say that again Tom Turkey! The struggle to keep Thanksgiving IS real!
Let’s give Thanksgiving the respect it deserves—even if we don’t like turkey.
I wonder if they REALLY had jellied cranberry sauce and Jiffy corn bread?
Let’s try to welcome Santa and Frosty and the Christmas decorations after our Thanksgiving dessert has been digested.
Hey you two. I’m gonna wait till after Thanksgiving to allow you into my home. OK?
I gotta go now and take inventory of my Christmas decorations!
In the meantime—Adam Sandler has a nice Thanksgiving song for you!