Thanksgiving is about much more than turkeyLike many families, we look forward to our annual Thanksgiving celebration. Much has changed since I first joined in my wife’s family celebration. In those days, we were among the youngest in the room. Nearly all of my attention was directed toward my fiancé (that hasn’t changed, even after more than forty years of marriage). Back then, there was an older generation consisting of my mother, Marla’s parents, and array of aunts and uncles. Next, there were others from our generation–people who shared our excitement and anxiety at facing a nation that had been turned upside down by the events of the sixties. Two things were a constant back then: the food (which was amazing) and the obvious expression of love and laughter in the room.
Decades later, some things have changed. Our parents and nearly all of the aunts and uncles are gone. Sadly, we hear from those cousins less and less frequently. Now, when I look around the table, I am far closer to being the eldest than the youngest person in the room. Two things that have not changed are the food (still amazing) and the atmosphere. Sisters Marla and Rayna are at the center of all this. Their love for one another has transcended two generations, as timeless as a Beatles song from years ago. Our two children and Rayna’s three generate such a wonderful energy together. Throw in two sons-in-law and a four year old sweetheart and you have the formula for an amazing gathering. Each year, we talk about the ones who are no longer with us, always in the most loving terms. This year, we temporarily missed the company of my older daughter and son-in-law, as they have begun their newest chapter out in the Golden State.
Using a model that those senior citizen tour groups should adopt, we spend several days together, but provide opportunities for people to go their separate ways during the day. For MarRay-plus, this means a shopping trip, usually to an outlet or some secret shopper’s nirvana. Some of the younger generation prefer to visit Fun Spot, another long term tradition. This year, my younger daughter and I decided to try something different. On Friday, we visited my friend Bob Manley’s new establishment, Hermit Woods Winery. With Bob as our attentive host, we sampled seven New Hampshire-produced wines in the comfort of his wine bar. Elisabeth and I had a terrific time learning about the origin of HWW’s wines, then testing them for color, scent, and taste. If you’re a wine connoisseur, or merely like to taste something new before committing to a purchase, I highly recommend making a visit to Bob and his partners on Main Street in Meredith NH.
One of the Thanksgiving traditions that has always divided the genders is watching football on television. Most of the men do this, while the women avoid it. This year, a new family tradition appeared–Mexican Train. A game that is reminiscent of Dominoes, but infinitely more interesting, Mexican Train has taken the family by storm. It provides opportunities for a little friendly competition. More important, it is the perfect milieu for what this family does best–laugh. The decibel level at the Thanksgiving Mexican Train table is right off of the charts. As one who eschews turkey (I make, but don’t partake) and pumpkin pie, I definitely joined the right family . . . a quirky, wonderful bunch, one and all. Someone please pass the chili.