Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving at the Cutler's

Turkey, wine, pie, and a guitar. That is all that is needed to make the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

Me and Bret grumble to each other every year. “Why do we bother doing this?” All we do all day is run around, cooking. Me, I like to slow-cook the bird, so I’m up at 6 to get it in the oven for a 4pm dinner. In 10 years we have not gotten salmonella yet, so I figure either we’re REALLY lucky or we just have quite the stomachs. I’m SO nutty about it too- I will baste that thing EVERY hour on the hour. All day long.

My sister-in-law and her beau have come every year since Allison was a baby for Thanksgiving week. This is the 8th year. Since we’ve moved into a bigger house, they have been staying with us. It has its good and bad moments, but mostly it’s great. Valina loves helping out with the kids, and they BOTH have been putting them to bed, which of course is a wonderful break for me. Alan always brings his guitar, and entertains the children (ok and me) with his tunes. Mainly Beatles, which makes me miss my dad, some Neil Young, which makes me miss another…

THIS year has been extra special- because my dad and his wife have come out for the holiday. Granted, I just saw them in August, but they actually FLEW on a PLANE, which is really amazing. To open that front door and see my Daddy standing there- oh man I just burst into tears and hugged him. After awhile he asked if he could come in and continue the hugging.

I have such a great relationship with my Dad. I honestly think it’s because I didn’t grow up with him. I didn’t witness all the garbage of the past, so I never was able to build any negative feelings about him. It’s like we both worked out all our stuff and grew up BEFORE getting to know each other- a true clean slate. I’ve also learned that I’m a lot like him, and I’m happy about that, unlike my mother…but that is another story for another day.

I knew that Alan and my dad would get on well, music and a guitar between them. So with the beautiful sunshine and the windows open, I heard singing and playing in the backyard while I finished prepping for the onslaught on in-laws that were about to arrive.

Something else I learned: Take a turkey out of the oven and everyone will gather around it like vultures. Poor Bret! Trying to carve the darn thing with all the fingers in the way! So I slapped hands away whilst Bret carved. Of course by then the bottles of wine had been opened as well, which most likely contributed to the hunger.

After dinner, everyone sat around trying to remember every folk song or tune they could think of. Drinking, laughing, singing. My Daddy played my favorite Beatles tune for me. We sang John Denver of course so the girls would join in. We laughed at the words we couldn’t remember.

It’s nice doing the cooking. You don’t have to clean! While I sat and chatted, everyone else cleaned up dishes. So wonderful. After everyone left, we sat around and the girl’s danced to songs on the radio, while the adults sat and digested. I looked around at everyone and understood why I am thankful.

I always remember at the end of the day why we do this every year. Then I look forward to next year.