Thanksgiving at our house is casual and haphazard. To accommodate everyone we butt up our rectangular kitchen table against our oval dining room table. There are lapses in hard tabletop surfaces, but it’s worth it to not have long table ends where conversations get lost.
My good china is 12 plates, so I need to mix in the everyday dishes too. My best silverware stretches to just eight. Holidays at our house are mismatched, at best.
In my childhood, my Mom cooked all day long. The table was set the night before. A centerpiece: mandatory.
With us, I pop in the turkey in the oven then run to catch up to my sons as they jostle each other toward the park tossing a football as they go. The boys and my husband always play a game of touch football on Thanksgiving. When the kids were little it was necessary. Leaving the house for an hour, even on a blustery November day in Minnesota, prevented head injuries from bored hours of roughhousing indoors. Now, the game serves as a counterpoint to my sons’ general inertia. But jobs and intense hours of college keep them busy most days, so a few days of lethargy are well-deserved. Anyone who is around is welcome to join my husband and sons. The Brittany Spaniel and I hike circles around the game. The dog randomly runs through plays just to say hello. Scores are not kept. Most everyone scores a couple touchdowns.
We always get back to the house later than expected (Wait! One more set of downs) leaving not nearly enough time to prepare side dishes or set the table. Often we’re still stirring and chopping as our first guests arrive. But that’s okay. Friends and extended family can sip wine and chat with us as we finish. Because for my sons, Thanksgiving is touch football at the park. Just last week I overheard my youngest son on the phone with his brother listing off televised games as they searched for the window when they could get in their own game.
I am thankful for friends and family. Thankful that our family traditions include a casual enough dinner that we can celebrate family togetherness at the neighborhood park gridiron.
Available to Chat