Saturday, November 26, 2016

Focusing on Gratitude

As I watch the news rolling in on the appointment of a bevy of white supremacists and others who would undo the strides we've made in the rights of women, children, minorities and the LGBT community, I have deliberately turned my head temporarily to focus in on what I can still be thankful for.
One of my sisters and my brother-in-law came to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with us. Our younger son had to work, but he and his girlfriend joined us for breakfast Thanksgiving morning. That evening, we had the girls with us. I have never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey before, but I went and picked out what I thought would be a suitable turkey to roast. From the general hilarity that ensued when I was asked its size, I may have mis-calculated. Our older daughter is what I call a pizzatarian - no meat but also virtually no vegetables. That left four adults and a child and one whopping 22+ pound bird. No matter. I dry-brined it and stuffed the cavity with quartered onions, oranges, garlic and rosemary branches. I spent much of Wednesday contentedly chopping food. Thanksgiving afternoon we sat down to a pile of turkey, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes roasted with pecans and a bourbon-maple glaze, green beans with almonds in balsamic vinegar and pomegranate arils, my family's traditional oyster dressing, and cranberry sauce with ginger and orange marmalade. And gooey mac & cheese and crescent rolls for the pizzatarian. We went around the table saying what we were thankful for this year.
Afterwards, we opened up a bottle of the bollecine rosse (a red prosecco) we brought back from our honeymoon in Chianti. We sat around talking and laughing and sent texts to those of our kids who weren't able to be with us that night.
I took the carcass of the turkey and the herbs, onion, garlic and celery from the cavity and boiled it on the stove for a couple of hours. The meaty stock will go in the freezer, except for what is now in the crock pot, turning into Thanksgiving Leftover Stew. I put in the green beans and some of the mashed potatoes left from dinner, carrots, cabbage, and peas from the fridge and freezer, an extra onion, and half a bottle of red wine. It will be ready for our dinner tonight. And so I am thankful for:

  • Enough food to eat heartily and extra to save for other days.
  • An ability to cook, with or without recipes.
  • A cozy little house that keeps us warm and dry.
  • A yard of my own so I can dig in the dirt and make a place for the bees and butterflies.
  • Good health and an able body.
  • A career that lets me (most of the time) help people heal and get stronger.
  • Plans for travel ahead of me.
  • A safe, friendly neighborhood that prides itself on its cohesiveness.
  • Family and friends who remind me that I am not the only one saddened by the surge in bigotry.
  • Our merged family with four children I love dearly.
  • A loving husband who is giving me a second chance at a happy marriage.
I wish for all of you- regardless of your political leanings - compassion, peace, clarity and gratitude in the coming year.

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