Friday, November 25, 2011
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. As a child, my mother cooked huge feasts and set the table with her fancy dishes, lit candles, made me wear scratchy underwear. The night before, we stuffed celery and dates and mixed the stuffing, always adding a little more Bell’s Seasoning. I loved squishing the wet warm bread through my fingers, mixing sausage and onions, toasted cubes and spices. On Thanksgiving morning, I cruised the living room, nibbled nuts and pastel mints from cut glass dishes, and watched the Macy’s Parade with the huge balloons. The house smelled of turkey and perfume. It was heaven for a child.
When I was ten and eleven, I lived on Cape Cod, where it all began, you know. When our class was chosen to perform the holiday pageant, I wanted to be a pilgrim. I WAS a pilgrim in my mind and pilgrims had better parts. Dressed in long skirts and white caps, they dragged the cardboard boat across the stage and had a feast while the Indians looked on. I was a new kid; I was an Indian. And, because I refused to wear make-up, a pale freckled Indian at that. No matter—we sang “There’s no place like home for the holidays” and I hummed the tune while shopping with my mother after the pageant. My cousins were coming down for the weekend; the turkey was thawing in the sink; my mother had made a lemon pie; the stuffing needed to be squished. Life was good.