Though the foliage may not show it, we are indeed well into the Autumn, and that means it’s Thanksgiving time. For the past several years, I have had the privilege of joining some close family friends up north for the festivities. While food is definitely important (this shindig is usually so big that two turkeys are required), it’s the tradition that keeps me coming back for another helping.
At this event, Thanksgiving isn’t just a meal, it’s a full weekend. Bagels and lox is the breakfast meal of choice, often with a slice of “hand pie” as a chaser (no, this isn’t some special concoction – just a piece of pie you hold in your hand while eating because you can’t be bothered to get a plate). Saturday night’s dinner is a pasta smorgasbord, with a side salad to make us feel less guilty. Thanksgiving day itself is just a blast. Everyone has a job to do (I have taken on the sacred task of making the gravy), and I think the meal tastes better because of it. The main meal is lunch, and we save our pie for the dinner hour (and if you think we just have pumpkin, you are sorely mistaken). After all that food, we roll ourselves over to the couches for board games and conversation, before slipping off to bed high on tryptophan.
To entertain ourselves between meals, there are all sorts of other traditions. Daily hikes or walks tend to go out regardless of the weather, and a generous neighbour supplies some apple trees for picking. The ante was upped for this year’s festivities with the addition of lawn games, leading to some of the most intense croquet matches I’ve ever been party to.
Perhaps the best tradition from my Thanksgiving weekend is the group painting. Every year a canvas is provided, and everyone adds their mark. Previous years masterpieces are hung outside the house, so you can take a walk down memory lane. The canvases are ridiculous and have no cohesive theme, but I love them. It’s like a yearbook, but more creative (and hilarious). You can look back at the older paintings to see inside jokes immortalized alongside the carefully drawn images of the more skillful artists.
It may take me a week to recover from the excitement, but it’s worth it. It may not feel like Autumn outside, but it’s here – and I have the painting to prove it.