I live in the East Fernando Valley. The rest of my family resides in various pockets of the Inland Empire – an hour away without traffic, and a slow multi-hour freeway crawl on a holiday like Thanksgiving. As Spock would say, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” so most holidays I’m the one checking Sigalert and making a pit stop at the In-N-Out drive thru to tide myself over before the big meal.
The last time I hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my home was in 1993. This was pre-kids, and my ex-husband and I prepared a turkey dinner for my mom, siblings, nieces and nephews at the home we rented in Toluca Lake.
Notice that I say: “prepared.”
Sometime mid-morning our oven broke and we finished cooking the turkey in the microwave. The ceremonial slicing of the bird occurred around noon so we could divide it into pieces small enough to fit into the microwave. You didn’t have the option of white meat or dark meat. Instead, it was your choice of “dry as a bone” or “pink enough to cause e coli.”
Besides the long drive and the rising price of gas, the microwaved turkey dinner was probably a good reason for my family to take nearly two decades before allowing me to host another Thanksgiving dinner.
As I write this post, my family will be arriving here in just under an hour to give me another shot. And since my current husband will be doing all the cooking this year (another reason why I think this one’s a keeper), I’m taking a moment to reflect upon the 10 Reasons Why I Am Grateful This Thanksgiving:
1. I am grateful that I get to enjoy a long visit with my Family of Origin, but that they’ll all leave before I remember why I couldn’t wait to move out the second I turned 18.
2. I am grateful that I didn’t have to kill my own turkey.
3. I am grateful that I decided against being cheap enough to make a pumpkin pie out of our leftover Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
4. I am grateful that my family will be so hungry that they won’t notice that we do not own a dining table.
5. I am grateful that that most Americans and I share the belief that Thanksgiving calories don’t count.
6. I am grateful that I am not invited to any social engagements this coming weekend where I would need to try and hide the 5 lbs. I gained on this single day.
7. I am grateful that the turkey’s tryptophane will keep me from waking up early enough to partake in the Black Friday Sales that I can’t afford.
8. I am grateful that there will be a variety of vegetables, but I don’t have to eat any of them.
9. I am grateful that since I am destined to become a football widow today, I’ll have two dozen family members here to entertain me.
10. I am grateful that we had new sewage pipes installed this year, just in case any of my family members have become closet bulimics.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and I hope that your hearts are overflowing with gratitude instead of bad cholesterol.