2010 is a unique Thanksgiving for my son. He will be eighteen in February and this holiday season he has been reminding me this will be his "last Thanksgiving and Christmas as a child." Yes, the magical number eighteen, as a teenager you dream how your life will suddenly change as you become an "adult."
Thanksgiving is my sons least favorite holiday. He does not like the food that is served on this day. When he was seven he sat down for Thanksgiving and looked at the spread and said "we had this last year!" I laughed and said "this what you eat every year on Thanksgiving." he looked at me in disbelief. When you think about what is eaten on Thanksgiving do you ever question the choice?
Turkey is dry and really not a good meat. I eat turkey only once a year and generally it is a very small piece. Dressing or stuffing I have never found this in my grocery basket, pantry or grocery list if it is not November. Cranberry sauce, that is another item I never eat. The only way the turkey is eatable is smothered in cranberry sauce. Another staple on my Thanksgiving menu is pea salad. Pea Salad is the one dish I actually like. I am not sure if I really think it is tasty or if it reminds me of my grandmother and it reminds me of how much I loved her. Pumpkin pie, is not even sweet and does not taste like a desert, but rather a thick, creamy mass that has to be choked down with every bite.
Thanksgiving dinner is not an appetizing meal but rather a menu you endure once a year, surrounded by the love of friends and family. When my son asked me why we eat this every year I did not have an answer for him at seven, but at seventeen I do. I will tell him this year as he is on the cusp of adulthood this meal is served so we can remember that for 26 years before he even existed my grandmother made me pea salad and gave me a hug. When he was one year old he had chicken pox and slept through thanksgiving dinner. His 5th Thanksgiving was spent with his cousin and the neighborhood boys pushing wagons around the circle drive. When his sister was five she was "thankful for being pretty." On his 10th thanksgiving he found $5o dollars in the street while playing with his best friend. On his 14th Thanksgiving we had the worst tasting green bean casserole ever made, but it was made with such love and planning every last drop was eaten. On his 16th thanksgiving a 20 minute trip to the grocery store turned into a 2 hour walk in search of pre-made broccoli and rice casserole. His 17th thanksgiving was spent on a blowup bed in his uncles living room playing "sense-around" video games .
Thanksgiving is not about the meal. but about the the memories. Maybe that is why we serve the same thing every year so we can go back in time if it is only for one day.