Being in the Midwest is really different from the other places I've lived. This afternoon I saw my friend Andi mention on Twitter that she was cooking for "Practice Thanksgiving". I asked if this meant that she got to have two thanksgivings and when I could come over. Within about 10 minutes she called and said com'on over to my moms around 6 tonight. Seriously people I was joking but who am I to turn down yummy food.
For absolutely no good reason I didn't get on my way to Huber Heights until five minute before six. In an attempt to cover my faux pas I called Andi to tell her that I was running behind. She told me to worry not as she was also running behind because the roasted Brussels sprouts had taken longer than expected (they were well worth any delay! Her Geekyness loved them too, I must have the recipe). Somehow I figured I would arrive after she had as she lives much closer to her mom's place, but no. I rang the bell to a house full of strangers. Andi's mom is a charming and gregarious hostess, introducing me to everyone in one fast sweeping motion before leaving the family room to check on something in the kitchen. After moving the large ottoman so that I would have somewhere to sit, one of the women pointed out the appetizer on the table "We have a cheeseball!" My immediate thought that cheeseball must be code for "the party has started!" A bit later another woman spread large dollops of said cheeseball on some crackers and handed me the plate. Alrighty then. Actually it was rather tasty and clearly homemade, not one of those rubbery molded in a factory concoctions.
Soon Andi, Hubs and Sprout, their adorable daughter arrived, complete with Sprout wearing cat ears and tail. So cute. We all chatted a bit and then there was food and I mean a lot of food! I learned the orgins of Practice Thanksgiving. Many years ago Andi's mom joined a sorority, after college years it seemed to me but I could have that wrong. Anyway, soon after her mom joined she instituted this tradition of them having thanksgiving together the weekend before so that they could share this ritual with friends and family without making oneself crazy trying to do it all in a day. I think this is a Brilliant idea and am considering franchising it. Sprout read us two books after dinner in between the adult conversation of Andi, Hubs and I, it was sweet.
I made a plate to take home to Her Geekyness and gratefully thanked Andi's mom for her generousity in inviting me into her home and this tradition. It was a really sweet evening stepping just a bit into someone else's world. I like doing that even though it can be a bittersweet experience. There continues to be no thanksgiving ritual for my family of origin. This will be Judy's first thanksgiving without her husband, Judy hosted our family yearly get together for almost thirty years. This year will be our second here in Ohio and already it is different from last year as the hosting home is switching this year. It's not a bad thing but her parents' home has become a bit of a base for me and I am sad to not be doing the holiday there again this year. It means it will be larger, different yet again. There are moments I feel too old, too sad for what is no longer to have no consistency in things that were once landmarks of my year, something akin to knowing the sun will rise - you don't know what exactly will happen, you know that it rises says nothing about whether it will be sunny or gray, but the sun is there somewhere. The family of my youth has shifted dramatically, there is a generation after me now, I know them less not more as I had always hoped, there are fewer of them than ever. Creating your own family rituals is fun but also challenging. Having to tweak them because of changes (like divorce), while it still has this air of "Hey I can make it anything I want", there is a piece of my that misses being a kid and just having it laid out for me.