I'm preparing for Thanksgiving.
I took the day off, as I have managed to do for the past 20 years, or so.
It is a day that is important to me one among very few.
I lack sentimentality around holidays, having grown up with the frequently spoiled or tainted by the weirdness that envelopes my family of origin.
When I was old enough to make my own holidays I made Thanksgiving everything I wanted holidays to be, as a child, filled with warmth and people that like each other.
No gifts or obligations.
The Wednesday before became my day, a day to prepare and to be happily alone, with at most Rolf, or my friend Karen to help.
I cleaned a lot.
I like to clean when I am alone.
I have a certain order, rhythm of the way I do things, and I am pleased when there is no one half doing things.
No one resenting the cleaning.
I'm good at cleaning and I like it most of the time.
I am not afraid of a bit of bleach.
I am not afraid to stand on a chair on my tip toes and dust the light fixture.
I am a fearless cleaner.
A destroyer of germs.
When Rolf's daughter was a toddler, I would sometimes babysit her in my apartment.
She liked to help me clean.
I would say "Dirt is our enemy!" and she would repeat it, with great enthusiasm.
I made the creamed onions, two kinds of cranberry sauce and a brussel sprout dish.
All I have to do in the morning is prep the dressing and bake the turkey. The other things can just be popped into the oven to warm.
My Grandma Betty would say "roast the turkey".
She would roast the turkey in a turkey roaster; a device that sat on her covered back porch on top of a chest freezer. A device that would both save precious oven space and produce a tender turkey (although not a carveable turkey, a moist sort of stewedish turkey. There was no skin to be had. The skin was not a thing, with the device roasted turkey.
My mother is very anti-skin, so I never knew people love the skin of fowl until I was an adult.
I know how to carve a bird rather well, and I know how to make skin. I am not really fond of the skin, but I know it's a thing, so I make it for the people that think of skin as part of the whole deal.
We will have a large group tomorrow, 18.
In 1996 we Rolf and I hosted four guests. I used a remnant of really beautiful upholstery fabric, a sort of needlepoint floral pattern, on a navy background.
When our friend MM arrived alone, without his new wife, we asked after her, or I did, since I am the one that is prone to nosiness, not Rolf, and he told us that she had given birth to their son that morning in a hospital a few blocks away.
I fixed her a plate and send him back to the hospital to feed her.
She was newly arrived from the Ukraine and never understood what all my fussing was about (regarding this or any other holiday). I've always gotten the impression that she views me as some kind of frivolous American hussy, with my flower arrangements and my red lipstick.
One year Karen arrived on the train with a raw cranberry salad. It was remarkable and to my great annoyance, I have not been able to duplicate the flavor, despite many attempts.
Karen is the only person brave enough to carry cranberry salad in her luggage. Which might be why she's been my friend for 40 years. You really need at least one person that brave in your life, to have your back.