The Laughing Matriarch

The Laughing Matriarch
ma·tri·arch/ˈ A woman who is the head of a family or tribe.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past

I've cooked a lot of turkeys in my lifetime, but every one  of them has a special place in my heart.

Before The Husband came on the scene, our Thanksgiving dinners were quiet. Mom and Dad did the dishes and put away the food faster than I could finish my pumpkin pie. With no siblings around I pretty much did all the talking.

I still do.

But once I met The Husband all bets were off. Two loud, rowdy, ribald (look it up) brothers and an ex-Marine dad, and you have  recipe for a kick-ass Thanksgiving dinner.

My mother-in-law- God bless her soul- tried for class and decorum, but rarely succeeded.

In my second or so year of marriage I took over the festivities.

And the tradition began. Tables were set with china, tablecloths and candles. Mom made the gravy (a seemingly week-long recipe. But so, so worth it.) Bocce balls were tossed in the front yard and football was on the TV in two rooms. We always ate outside...except once when it actually rained.

Mom making the gravy.

But, as in life, there are back-stories to perfection.

That time the green bean casserole flew out of the oven and on to the floor. And my sister-in-laws and I scooped it all up and put in back in the dish and served it with a smile.
Thanksgiving in Vista, CA.

My second year of hosting when the day before Thanksgiving as I prepared the food I let a just released lady prisoner into my home to wait for her friends to pick her up. She happily, and very detailed, told me how she had tried to kill her husband...while showing me her cool brass knuckles.

The Husband finally came home and escorted her out the door.

And that first year when we moved into our new house in Vista and realized...too late... that we had propane to heat the water. And we were out. Of hot water.

We bathed in the hot tub and boiled a crap-load of water to wash the dishes. ( The Realtor -not Laurie- might have mentioned the propane to me but she was too busy trying to seduce The Husband while showing him the house. Sheesh, and I paid her a commission!)

Al fresco Thanksgiving dining.

A few years ago the tradition ended,  as traditions often do. Family members passed away. Others grew less rowdy. We moved out of the state. We flew to Canada to be with the son for the holiday. (Another story; I once accidentally poured the boiling water that was cooking the beans- it involved talking- onto my leg. Instead of going to the hospital, I drank more wine. My scar is almost gone. My  son and Miss Lydia are most likely still scarred.)

Samuel carving a Canadian turkey.

We moved to Washington five years ago and had friends over for indoor golf , turkey and mac n cheese, which was great, but we missed the rest of the crew.

This year we  returned to California and had an early dinner with the relatives and the daughter, serving it on a door covered with a tablecloth.

This week (actually Friday. Sigh.)  we will do it again in Canada with the son  and a group of his friends in a hotel in downtown Vancouver. (Please be a regular-sized oven!)

But no matter the day or time or size of the crowd, it's still Thanksgiving for the Laughing Matriarch.

The great thing about this holiday is that I get to pour my heart and soul into the pies and stuffing and turkey...and wine. Sometimes it turns out, sometimes it doesn't.

You know what the  best thing about our big-ass, oddball, non-traditional family is? (Get ready to call the cornball police)

 We always have leftovers of hugs and laughter.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


" Isn’t it peculiar, Charlie Brown, how some traditions just slowly fade away?" Lucy Van Pelt

1 comment:

  1. I think in another life we were related. I remember the first time I brought a boyfriend to the house for Thanksgiving...his parents were professors....he was totally overwhelmed with the laughing, dancing, arguing, hugging, game playing crazy family. I miss them all so much...even the arguments and there was always at least least I have the memories...and the boyfriend, well, he hung around for a long time.....