For nearly a week, I have tuned out events on the national and international stage and focused on the home front. My wife and I prepped and precooked, then baked to her little heart’s content. Cranberry sauce, country style green beans, pumpkin, and apple pies ready to serve. Dinner rolls, dressing, and a candied yam concoction fit for a king.
The bird got an oil massage and a rub down with Paula’s (Layne not Deen) special blend and sent him into the 250-degree sauna of love. By prepping and precooking some things, the stress level was low and I think my wife actually had time to sit down and relax for a while between 6:00am and noon between stirrings, and pot watching. We love to spend family time together and doubly so in a warm place that smells like good food cooking. There is nothing like basking in a cloud of herbs and spices…
The final half hour, despite all our preparations was still a two-minute drill. Setting up the buffet so that in an area 1/4 the size of the old dining room so that everyone could eat drink and be merry in a self-service fashion presented a few problems we had not considered. However, on the second try we figured it out to our satisfaction. Nobody went hungry and you really can seat six at a table designed for four.
We took time to be thankful for the blessings we have in our lives. Not just the stuff we have, but also the people. My wife’s job and my professional success as a writer this year were high on the list. For the family with us, and those who were not. I was especially thankful that all three of our girls were with us this year, even though one chose to jump ship and go home with Grandpa for a couple of days. In addition, I am thankful to all of you who read this column, my homesteading blog, or know my book and magazine work.
After the delicious meal, most of us migrated from the dining room to the living room to watch a dystopian movie on that NetClicker thing. Why a dystopian movie, you ask? Well simple, you cannot just turn on traditional Mayflower or Pilgrim flick, because Thanksgiving has become that forgotten holiday between candy and presents for kids, and voting and presents for adults. In essence, Thanksgiving has become nothing more than a power meal before a shopaholic extravaganza.
No one left my house on Thanksgiving Day in amorous pursuit of a twinkling widget. No one in my family slept in a $300 dollar tent to save fifty bucks on a television. None of us stood in line for ten hours, or two hours for a thirty-dollar Blue-Ray player made by a firm we’d never heard of that isn’t a regular stock item that cannot be exchanged when its flimsy components wear out the day after the warranty expires.
On Black Friday, we ventured out for family errands. Make a car payment, pay a bill, visit the BMV, and buy a dress for my daughter who will be one of the children’s chorus singers for our church’s final Living Christmas Tree production. We left the house at 10am and promptly came home when finished. I do not have a problem with Black Friday shopping, but I do have a low tolerance for people behaving badly just to earn a twinkling widget, or a spot on the local news’s idiot showcase (film at eleven).
As this year’s Thanksgiving, fades into the sunset and shopping takes center stage please remember a bag of groceries or a gift card for your local food pantry. Donate all the discarded coats and gloves to a local church outreach. Instead of re-gifting items from people who pretend to know you to others whom you pretend to know, donate them to a church outreach or a family in need. You will be doing something good and original, two qualities missing from almost everywhere.
Jim Layne is husband, father and veteran. He firmly believes in God and family first, Duty, Honor, Courage and a lot of other old fahioned ideals. A self confessed news junky, he distills the rhetoric down to its essential salts and serves it up in plain spoken terms.