It is that time of the year again. There is a chill in the air, that even the sun’s rays cannot warm.
The leaves take their final bow, step away from their partners twirling and swaying, to land gracefully on the dance floor of earth. The sound of rustling in our little forest is the soundtrack of fall.
With the children back in school (hooray! excuse me while I bust out my best happy-dance moves (visualize a clumsy yet enthusiastic running man performed while twirling in tight counter clockwise circles with the occasional fist pump and karate chop)) my thoughts start to turn to the season of holidays. It is time to think turkey and stuffing, roasted acorn squash and sugar pie. Oh yes, it is time for that holiday we all love, Practice Thanksgiving! We invite family and friends to join us for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Everyone brings a dish to share and, weather permitting, we all head outdoors for a walk through the neighborhood after the meal but before the coffee and dessert. This year, the twelfth of such gatherings, Practice Thanksgiving falls on October 27th the day that would have been my dad’s 78th birthday.
The exact origins of Practice Thanksgiving have been lost to the fog of time. Some historians theorize it came about due to the need for knowledge on how to cook a perfect turkey although others dispute this and believe it started out as a simple dinner party that grew out of control. No one will ever know for sure but the tradition of this casual, floating holiday lives on. I for one am glad it did.
Some years the gathering is small, our family of four, and three or four others. Some years the number of guests require us to dust off our extra table that resides in the garage, bring in the lawn chairs, and find the largest turkey we can. I like both the slower paced more intimate feel of the small group and the loud, chaos of love, family, and friends that comes with the larger gathering. The meal planning is pretty much the same regardless of the crowd size. A few extra potatoes or less, an extra bottle or two of wine or not and you are ready. It is the space at the table that drives me to get those RSVPs.
This year we had twelve invites on our list, four of which can not attend. I am on the fence about what to do now. I could let it be as it is and leave the head count at twelve, the exact number that fits around our dining room table when fully extended or invite some new friends of ours who have two boys (the same age as Cody and Carter) and allow extra fun and chaos to ensue. Whatever I end up deciding, I am sure it will be a grand affair with tasty food and lively conversation.
I would love to hear about your extra family holidays if you have them. And if you don’t feel free to start up a Practice Thanksgiving tradition of your own.