I don’t like turkey. I never have. The holidays were just not good “food days” for me growing up. What I loved was the family gathering, the special attention I got from aunts and uncles, and that sort of thing. Turkey was something I ate because I was told to eat it and was told that it was good.
I do miss my mom’s dressing. But not really. It tasted good only because she made it with such care and it is associated with really nice childhood memories before family holidays became such drama exhibitions. Now that Alzheimer’s has taken away her ability to do much of anything, there will never be another batch of that dressing on this planet. And what I wouldn’t give for just one more bite.
As an adult I tried all manner of Thanksgiving “traditions” when I was married and after I got divorced. None of them really “stuck.” One year there was steak and shrimp. Another year I was dating a guy who was a great cook and let him do most of the cooking and planning. Year before last my best friend flew in from Texas and we made crab cakes. Last year we went to the beach and dined at an overpriced and overrated steak house.
So, being the nontraditional Thanksgiving person that I am, this year we are also at the beach. And I have come to realize what I need to adopt as my tradition: getting everyone involved in the planning of the nontraditional Thanksgiving.
My family left it to me to make dinner reservations for us. I knew several nice restaurants and so I made reservations I thought everyone would enjoy. One for lunch, then one for dinner. Let’s eat twice, I thought. But as we were contemplating our plans for dinner, we realized that the restaurant was like a 20 minute drive away. We had all been drinking and nobody needed to drive. Uber fares were going to be outrageous to get there. Clearly I had not done good research on the location of our resort and what restaurants were close. So maybe I’m not such a good planner after all.
Then my son said, “I wish we could go to a Brazilian steakhouse.” I chimed in with a “Hell yeah!” Some other folks with us had never been to one. So we decided it was the perfect venue for our dinner.
Apparently we ain’t the only cats on the block that dig a nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner. That Brazilian steakhouse was crowded by 1:30 p.m. and booked solid until 9:00 p.m.
The synergy of all of us participating in that decision made so much sense. Several heads thinking about it were better than just one.
So, next year, in October, once we know where we’re going (and I love a destination holiday!), I’m going to ask everyone to research our destination and pick out restaurants that interest them. Then we’ll collaborate on the merits of each one and hopefully come up with something–like the Brazilian steakhouse–that everyone is really excited about. Then we can make our reservations and be guaranteed something everyone can look forward to.
Family participation in the actual Thanksgiving (and Christmas) planning process will now be my new tradition for my decidedly untraditional holidays. The next decisions involve Christmas, so I’m going to start getting them involved right away!
Meanwhile I’m thankful on this Black Friday that I have a 6:00 p.m. reservation at that Brazilian steakhouse…. nom nom nom!