We All Have Our Stories and Traditions…
I had no tradition for this holiday growing up. None. My family was so unpleasant at its very core, a holiday forcing all of them into one place was my definition of a nightmare.
So after five years of being out on my own, my father and his new wife (worse than my mother, which I must say took some doing) were in Palm Springs over Thanksgiving where I had a nice place and was a golf professional. Stupidly, I offered to cook for them.
The wife would have nothing to do with that, so she forced us to go up the Tram and have a holiday meal up there, which was not only bad food, but I was stuck on that mountain in that old lodge with her and my father for three long, long, long hours.
I got so angry at the attitude that I was not able to cook a Thanksgiving meal in their eyes and that my place was not good enough for them, that when I escaped, I found the only grocery store still open, bought myself a small bird, potatoes, Stove Top stuffing (or something similar in that time), and a gravy fixing pack and went home and by midnight I was sitting alone in my apartment eating a surprisingly good meal. Better than the one in that lodge.
Every year since (with one wonderful exception of having Thanksgiving dinner at Chris Valada and Len Wein’s home), I have cooked that exact same meal. That year I cooked it three days later when we got home.
50 years this year. I have no caring who is with me at the meal. Large or small gathering, I cook the same thing. I have no issue if people bring other stuff they like, but I cook the exact same thing (only I make my own gravy now and no longer use Stove Top) and that is all I eat (besides pie afterwards if one is made. Kris makes stunning pies and it is her tradition.)
In 1973, I started this tradition out of anger and to prove to myself I was able to take care of myself just fine. Now I can’t imagine not doing it. And for some reason, Kris seems to love it, which I have been grateful for now for 35 of those 50 years. At times, as this year, it will be just the two of us. Many other times friends joined in. I think one year we had almost twenty people there and thankfully we had two houses at the time with two ovens for two huge birds.
So I hope your tradition started from a kinder place than mine did. And that you have a good day.
And if you are a writer, don’t forget to get some words in. Amazing how that helps the day as well.