Yep, this holiday has stages and we who are older live in the very best stage of all. Now it’s all turkey, no oven, no making of pies, no lumping of gravies.
Which is how we started out as kids. No responsibility for the holiday. Moms and aunts did the manual labor. I even remember my grandmother burning the ends of the feathers off the bird, so near to nature were the turkeys in the days of yore.
The feast began days before Thanksgiving with pies and sauces made by others and not made by you who were still in school coloring pictures of Pilgrims. And Thanksgiving Day was apron day for the women, sitting and smoking day for the men and perfect freedom for you. Maybe you were allowed to put the cream cheese into the celery bits, but that was it. The turkey work belonged to others. You could play with your cousins.
Alas, that stage grew into another over the years and as the years and holidays passed. you became the Turkey Queen, Czarina of the Pies, Princess of the Mashed Potatoes. It was all up to you unless you had the sense to ask others to bring the yams with the marshmallows, the green beans with the crisp onion rings.
And then even more years passed. Many turkeys met their end, but so did your role as main character in the turkey scene. Turkey platters got passed to the next generation. It was their turn to Butterball, mash, chop, roll, bake and worry.
And now, as older adults…some of us great grandmothers…we are back to the freedom enjoyed as kids. The younger generations have taken over. Some do their thing from scratch, but many are seduced by the pleasures of take-out or eat-out. Restaurants now do what grandma and the aunts did and probably better. And so it goes here at my home this year.
Yes, I will miss the smell of turkey cooking, but not the work. Yes, this will be the first Thanksgiving where a family member is bringing in turkey takeout and we only have to do the dishes. I think my over-worked grandma with her seven children might love it and I intend to set a place for her…a physical thank you for the many years she spent lifting tough 24 pound birds.
So yes, I can play this Thanksgiving, watch the parade instead of the turkey, watch the dog show on TV instead of watching the gravy curdle, talk with my family instead of isolating in the kitchen. And then give thanks that we are lucky enough to have good food from any source. Plus add in another thank you for freedom from holiday exhaustion.
OK…one confession. I will miss the Friday lunch with a turkey sandwich on Wonder Bread and far too much mayo.
Happy Thanksgiving, no matter how you do it.