I miss Chelsea on this holiday. Becoming a vegetarian, taking Native American studies at CR – these experiences eroded the superficial traditions of Thanksgiving a while back. Add to that Thanksgiving’s role as a Christmas signifier heralding the stress and poverty to come  – bah, humbug, I know.

Then one day before Thanksgiving a few years ago, as I pondered main course choices, Chelsea piped up. “I love Thanksgiving!” she said.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah, I love having people over and all the food and the fire going. It makes me really happy.”

From my point of view, since we have people over often, cook most every evening and light the fire whenever fall starts to really hit, well, Thanksgiving felt like just another night – only with hype. But to Chelsea, the holiday offered something special – and as happens to parents, her enthusiasm washed away (most of) my cynicism, so that even as I continue troubled by the politics of Thanksgiving, I have yet something else to be thankful for.

* * *

This year, I’d slacked on inviting people over – the holiday arrived so quickly. (Wasn’t till last Saturday morning, I even realized the kids were out of school for a week.) Of course, everyone had plans by the time I checked in. The lack of company saddened me. “Gathering” is a key factor in the holiday equation. But some friends’ plans changed at the last minute, so they’re coming over here instead! Yay! Everything always works out.

The wood stove still holds embers from last night, so we’ll get that going again once Bobby’s up. We managed to buy enough food to make some out-of-the-ordinary dishes, but not exceed our (tight) budget (rather crucial if we’re to have Christmas this year).

On the menu:

Butternut Squash Casserole  – a friend brought for the book swap a few weekends ago. Fabulous and filling.
Pan-Fried Brussel Sprouts with Chile and Cumin Seeds – noticed this one on the front page of WordPress. Sounds good. Hope it is.

Bobby’ll make corn and black bean soup. Nick’s baking a pumpkin pie (with chocolate chips). Kaylee’ll make bread like she learned in Steve Sipma’s second grade class at Ridgewood. 

We have wine, beer and eggnog, both alcoholic and not. Friends are bringing more food and libations.

Nick’s blood sugar levels have been consistently good the past few days.

I think the day will be especially lovely.