Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratidudinal Thanksgiving

Pablo's Thanksgiving plate, as shot by Grady, the great culinary still life photog.

Have to admit, Jo Ann and I thought celebrating Thanksgiving with only the five members of our family—Polly included—would be a letdown. This isn't to say that we, like, avoid being alone as a crew. You know that's not how we roll. But we are a family that opens its doors for parties and holidays, whether it's our birthday parties, T-day feast and Celebrity match, or our (almost) annual crawfish boil.

A year ago today, I would not have guessed that our home would be 56 or so people less crowded for T-day 08. But it was, and it was wonderful. We are some grateful dudes, and we are having a gratidudinal Thanksgiving. Jo Ann noted that she was excited to jump out of bed and start cooking this morning—a pleasant surprise. Another unexpected turn that's expanded our horizons. Another thing was that we ate at around 1 p.m. It was cool to start the food coma so early in the day. We ought to be back to normal blood flow by 7.

Our day started with Grady and Pablo inviting me into a Dread Pirate war. That game took at least two hours. While we were sailing the high seas, Jo Ann began preparing our feast. Midway through our game, she had the turkey breast in the oven. A few minutes after that, we heard a knock on the door: it was John and Shana delivering a cranberry upside-down cake. It was delicious, and my first foray into cranberry cake—right-side up, or upside-down. While we were chatting with J + S in the front hall, Scott and Cathy delivered mac n cheese. For a minute, we had a flash mob on in our front yard.

After the first wave disbursed, Dorrie made a solo appearance with a killer square format apple pie. A short time later, Polly arrived with two pints of Haagen-Dazs (choco and vanil), and it was game: on. 8,124 calories later, we sat down for a family style game of Dread Pirate, which, I swear, lasted two more hours and elicited 14 arguments from our teenage debater, Cap'n Pirate Grady.

'It looks like a motorcycle helmet'—Pablo and his post-dinner, post-dessert cutie.

At the moment, Jo Ann is out, driving G to Jimmy's house, for T-day, part II. Pablo and Polly are playing hide n' seek, and I am about to wrap up this post to join them.

Our day has gone sooooo fast. But not so fast that we missed the opportunity to be grateful. At dinner we went around the table and stated a few things each of us was grateful for. The common theme: we are conscious of what we have in our lives, and that we are fully aware of who we are, and where we are as a family. We have been robbed of thousands of hours this year. So what? All those days and nights in CHLA have only sweetened this handful of hours we called Thanksgiving. This year, we actually had something to give thanks for: being together, at home.

Oh, and the party will continue next year. You have my word. Just try and remember all the celebrity names you woulda dropped into the bowl this year. I was going to go with a theme—see if you can detect the pattern: Sarah Palin, Track Palin, Bristol Palin, Willow Palin, Piper Palin, Trig Palin.

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