Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks

I have a friend who starts her day by writing down what she is grateful for. Every morning over a cup of coffee, she thinks and writes.
Right now it is hunting season in NY. Thanksgiving dinner was always a random large gathering of deer hunters and family. In college, a Romanian friend wanted to avoid the cold arguments of his family's traditional gathering so he joined me.
We walked in to about ten guys, some family, drunk asking him explicitly about how sex was and teasing him despite his protestations of platonic friendship. The more he protested, the more explicit their jibes. I tried not to be mortified. There were seventeen for dinner, when the meal was set out. Everyone strategized seats for control and access to coveted dishes. The deviled eggs were under armed guard (a scowl and a rolling pin) to keep my brother and I from a repeat of our quick devouring of all of them. The year before we had eaten a whole plate of them on principal before anyone else got any. I found a seat and nudged Chris toward the one by my side. The minute the food was on, war broke out. People reached to snatch dishes ladden with home cooked deliciousness as if it was in limited supply even though there was enough food to feed an army. My Uncle on the other side of Chris realized he was watching and not getting food as negotiations were flying. If you pass the potatoes, I will pass the stuffing- if not, ha! No stuffing for you! Chris laughed as his plate had food thrown on it, from me on one side and my uncle on the other. At one point Chris noticed the dill dip and rye bread I had on a side table lower than table height. I gestured for secrecy. If we wanted the best pie, we had to have a bargaining chip.
He laughed out loud when thirteen pies were revealed as dessert for seventeen people. He almost cried when he found out it was really fourteen but I gad already hidden the cherry pie so my allies and I would definitely get the whole thing.
This is one of the few holidays my terrible family didn't ruin. This memory, of a guy who struggled with depression and distant anguished family relations laughing as he found himself in a real life Benny Hill sketch parading as a holiday dinner.
Today, we're making macaroni and cheese and going to a community potluck.
I am doubting that food will be thrown onto plates from across tables. I doubt we will gave to negotiate for access to the stuffed celery or deviled eggs, but I am guessing it will still be a lot of fun with wonderful friends.
I am grateful for the healthy friends and family I love. I am grateful for life.
I am grateful for great weather. I am grateful I can pay my bills. I am grateful for good memories.