thanksgiving in the sun

This year, I held off planning our Thanksgiving dinner until the last minute. I knew Leryann and William would be joining us, and my older son said that he and his housemates would be coming, but still, so much was up in the air, what with my bakery work load, the spiking pandemic, and the big X-factor: the weather. If it was cold, rainy, and windy, then we’d probably have to pick a different day or else nix the company idea altogether (unless we opted to throw the windows wide and wear masks in the house which didn’t strike me as very much fun). 

And so I waited. 

But then the forecast said it was supposed to be 65 and sunny (!!!), my days at the bakery weren’t as long as I’d feared, and nobody in our bubble got smote (smited?) by Covid. 

So Tuesday morning I pulled the turkey from the freezer to thaw and emailed my parents to see if they wanted to join us, too. Wednesday afternoon when I got home from work, my younger son proudly showed me the sweet potato pie he’d made from scratch — pie crust and filling — for the feast.

And that evening I made the stuffing and a double batch of ludicrous mashed potatoes and started giving some serious thought to the pies.

Thursday morning, I emailed the crew with final plans. We’ll eat around two, I said. Dessert will be around five. We’ll be outside all day, so dress accordingly. 

All that morning I steamed around the kitchen baking pies, roasting turkey, and making gravy and cranberry sauce. The rest of the family worked outside, raking and mowing, scrubbing the porch, and washing windows. Once everything was ship-shape, I fluffed the porch, aka the living room, hauling out the house plants and a couple soft easy chairs, and tossing throw pillows and old (clean) blankets about.

with a tutorial, carving goes much more smoothly
notice the tray, because a regular plate wasn’t big enough

All that afternoon and evening, we lounged around, eating ourselves silly, drinking coffee, visiting, and playing corn hole.

At dusk, the twinkle lights clicked on and I dug out a couple candles. My younger son built a small bonfire and we toasted our toes (my shins were still marbled red the following morning) and told stories. 

Then, tummies full and clothes smoky, everyone split for home. The kids dismantled the outdoor living room, my husband finished washing up the dishes, and I filled my biggest soup pot with the turkey caress and vegetables, topped it off with water, and set it to simmer on the stove for the annual big-batch of turkey broth, the end.

This same time, years previous: 2019 garden stats and notes, the day before, kale pomegranate salad, monster cookies, Thanksgiving of 2011, pumpkin pie.


  • Susan

    Sounds perfect. Funny how shaking up tradition or expectations doesn’t always have to feel like loss. Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year and I love the hubbub and crowd of people coming, but this year was just my husband and two teenagers and it was lovely, too. Probably some life lessons in this, haha.

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