It all started in September.
I was marketing with the Boyfriend, and at one point I stopped in mid-aisle to exclaim, “Where are the roasting pans? It’s late September! Where are the cranberries?”
You see, with the beginning of September, the first of the blessed quartet of 3-syllable months, my mind will turn to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, and all of its lovely panic-strewn preparations. Thanksgiving, the fear, the food. Thanksgiving and butter. Thanksgiving and the only marathons that count – the ones on TV.
Now, previously, the holiday would either be a restaurant meal, where one could not ask for seconds, or ask why the gratinee on the potatoes was so flimsy. (Such a crisp, cheesy roof should be in danger of crushing the entire building, for goodness’ sake.) And if not at a restaurant, the other Thanksgiving alternative would be one at a relative’s or friend’s home – there, seconds would be available (possibly encouraged, depending on the friend/relative). But there one would pay for one’s boldness by helping to Clean Up. Both of these meals would be full of thanks to be sure, but they would also last only a few hours: a mere nibble out of the year. For me, when Thanksgiving is in someone else’s hands, the celebrations are always far too brief.
So, years and years ago, I decided to have the meal at my apartment. And this brought about a paradigm shift in my perception of Thanksgiving. Between shopping, cleaning and cooking, my prep work begins in October. And I will begin to sniff around for new recipes in September (doubling my annoyance with the Halloween menus on the covers of all the cooking magazines. What’s to plan? Give me – or anyone, for that matter – a a vat full of Heath bars and I’m happy).
I trust the people I invite, so I use the good silver. Fashion-shaming could make people uncomfortable, but I invariably will greet them at the door wearing a tiara and petticoats, but I mean no harm – so everyone gets a corsage or buttonhole. Oh, and the secret handshake, obviously.
So, it is therefore safe to say that my Thanksgiving lasts for 3 months. As a result of this elasticization of the holiday, of this metaphoric conversion into an easy-fit stretch band, I will be sore, weak, and often ill from being maid-of-all-work for such a distance of time. My sciatica will be erupting. But it is still glorious.
Now, I hope this won’t frighten people away from Thanksgiving. Because no matter how you choose to celebrate this peculiarly American and hedonistic day, please make sure that you do. For this day was not made to be joyless.