I’m heartbroken that I’ll miss Thanksgiving at home this year. I love every part of the holiday, but especially the food and my family in all our dysfunctional glory.
I love getting home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Last year was the first time my college-freshman little sister had to come home, too. My mom always tells me how behind we are on the Thanksgiving prep, as if there was one perfect year when we had everything cleaned and baked and decorated and cooked sometime in mid-October.
My mom has a Thanksgiving List and some of the chores already have my name on them. Actually, some of the sub-lists have my name on them. I think my Montclair coming-of-age ceremony involved the promotion from vacuuming to actual food preparation. My mom asks my dad for his opinion and he pretends like he can tell she’s moved all the wine glasses clockwise six degrees around the water glasses.
Wednesday night I go see Scep and now Katie, too. We used to hide out from last-minute chores, watch videos in his attic and talk about college. Now we hide out from last-minute chores and have margaritas with Stick and Katie. Last year, Scep and Katie told me they have real jobs, and they’re paying and that’s that.
No one really watches the parade but what’s Thanksgiving without inflatable Barney in the background? The arrival of Stick added watching football to the Stivison Thanksgiving, which makes up for the end of the traditional holiday pastime of Critique Meg’s Boyfriend.
I can’t actually talk about the food because if I think about it too much, I’ll be on a plane home.
After dinner, the extended Stivison family has dessert and wine. My cousins and I used to play Monopoly but then we started playing other games (like Illuminati) as we got older. We have enough pie that the arrival of half a dozen hungry teenage boys isn’t a problem. That’s not hyperbole, actually, we’ve tried a few times when I was in college, and then Bethie brought all the international students from Wesleyan home last year. Last Thanksgiving was my first experience with ESL pictionary, now a staple of my classroom.
I’m so sad that I won’t be home this year. But if my family can have latkes for Christmas, then I can have Beijing duck for Thanksgiving.