May all who celebrate Thanksgiving today Find that they DO have all the necessary ingredients for whatever they’ve decided to serve,
(may we be grateful for having the privilege and means to be able to choose what to eat
and help those who do not) Find it in themselves to cope with the traditional family arguments and dysfunctional dynamics,
(may we be grateful for those we can lean on in times of trial and total frustration
and be such a person to others) And easily find the lids that match the containers they have just filled with leftovers
(may we be grateful that we have enough and more than enough
and may we share our fortune with those who do not).
(may we extend it indefinitely)
(And may the membership of the Turkey Voluntary Extinction Movement hold steady until they come to their senses, for I’m sure they know not what they do. Just sayin’.)
It’s Random Thursday time again, even though the little map on my stats page suggests that most of you probably won’t be reading this until Friday, what with all the cooking and carbo-loading and the tryptophan overdosing and dishwashing and so forth.
But that’s okay, since this post isn’t going to be all that random, either.
Even though my parents are the ones who come over the rivers and through woods to their grandchildren’s house every year, I still find myself singing Lydia Maria Child’s poem to myself every year about this time.
Not all the verses—off the top of my head, I knew the ones that were sung at the end of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, just before Snoopy and Woodstock have their dinner and cut into that enormous pie.*
I had no idea that this thing goes on for twelve verses. Or had such a clunky official title.**
But it ends in a celebration of pie,***so who really cares?
The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day
(Lydia Marie Child)
Over the river, and through the wood, To grandfather’s house we go; The horse knows the way, To carry the sleigh, Through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood, To grandfather’s house away! We would not stop For doll or top, For ’tis Thanksgiving day.
Over the river, and through the wood, Oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes, And bites the nose, As over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood, With a clear blue winter sky, The dogs do bark, And children hark, As we go jingling by.
Over the river, and through the wood, To have a first-rate play— Hear the bells ring Ting a ling ding, Hurra for Thanksgiving day!
Over the river, and through the wood— No matter for winds that blow; Or if we get The sleigh upset, Into a bank of snow.
Over the river, and through the wood, To see little John and Ann; We will kiss them all, And play snow-ball, And stay as long as we can.
Over the river, and through the wood, Trot fast, my dapple grey! Spring over the ground, Like a hunting hound, For ‘t is Thanksgiving day!
Over the river, and through the wood, And straight through the barn-yard gate; We seem to go Extremely slow, It is so hard to wait.
Over the river, and through the wood, Old Jowler hears our bells; He shakes his pow, With a loud bow wow, And thus the news he tells.
Over the river, and through the wood— When grandmother sees us come, She will say, Oh dear, The children are here, Bring a pie for every one.
Over the river, and through the wood— Now grandmother’s cap I spy! Hurra for the fun! Is the pudding done? Hurra for the pumpkin pie!
Have A Wonderful Pie Thanksgiving Day!
(if tomorrow is just another day to you, have pie, anyway—
one should never pass up an opportunity to celebrate pie!)
*Not to digress, but am I the only one who wonders if there’s a correlation between that pie and the disappearance of the Great Pumpkin? I mean, clearly Woodstock is okay with quasi-cannibalism, so…
**Or that it’s author was such an amazing woman, who totally deserves to be remembered for much more than a single poem, not that anyone remembers she wrote it in the first place. The Poetry Foundation has a biography. Read it—it’s fascinating!
***And possibly an earworm that will last until “Let It Snow” takes malicious hold of your psyche. Does anyone else sing that song as sarcastically as possible? ‘Cause even Dean Martin can’t save that song for me. Ugh.
My parents arrived Tuesday evening so they could get up early Wednesday for Family and Friends Day at the kids’ school* and left Saturday morning, a little after I left for work.
Here are bits and pieces of what happened between:
This is all Watson’s fault. She’s the one who introduced us to Munchkins, a sort of role-playing, monster-fighting, flippin’-hilarious card game with warriors and levels and cursing and running away and really, really odd weapons.
She has expansion packs and different versions—Pirate Munchkins, SuperMunchkins, Zombie Munchkins, etc.—and we all played a couple of hands with Mom, Dad, and Janie while Sunny pulled all the Fairy Dust Expansion cards out of the discard piles and made up stories about them.
The game itself is hard to explain, but these quotes from our evening might give you some idea of what’s involved:
“But . . .but you have a chicken on your head. And I smell.”
“Do you really want to ask your aunt or grandpa for help, sweetie? Or will you ask your devoted mother, who loves you very, very much and will kill that horrible monster for you for only two, tiny little treasure cards? Because I will be glad to underbid those mercenary people over there just to keep you safe. You know that, right? Sweetie?”
“No! No, no, no—remember the first rule of Munchkins: any dispute must be followed by a loud argument, which we’ve just had, followed by the owner of the game threatening to take her cards and go home unless she wins. And that would be me.”
“You are home.”
“Then I will go downstairs.“
“I did it! I did it! I have won the Fruitcake of Destiny!!!! Oh . . .I think I just wet myself.”
“Okay,” I said, rummaging through grocery bags. “Mom and Dad may have forgotten the cheddar and the eggnog, and the baby carrots, but they did remember the diet Pepsi, so at least I won’t be curled up in a fetal position under the table by dinner.”
“You would have gone out and found some,” said my husband.
“True,” I said. “But all the stores are closed now. I’d have to find a caffeine pusher on the street corner and you know how that would go:
“Hey, man, all I got is 24 ounces a’Coke, maybe a little Pepsi Zero, y’know? The Man’s been breathing down my neck hard, lately. Yeah, yeah . . . Wait, is this &(@$%ing root beer? I know you ain’t pulling this $#!& with me, punk—Paagph! did you cut this with Sprite?! I will &(@$% you up!”
Which is when my husband and Watson started muttering something about an intervention . . .
“You have to stir it constantly,” said Watson.
“I am. Sort of,” I said. “I’m just letting it relax a little.”
“Why don’t I do that for you, honey,” said Mom. ” If you’re getting tired of all that stirring that you really do have to do.”
“I have made this before, you know,” I said.
Mom held up her hands and backed off. “Okay, okay.”
“I’m not bothering you with all this noise, am I?” I asked Watson, rattling the whisk around the saucepan like a troupe of six-year old tap dancers.**
“No,” she said. “You’ll have to do better than that to bother me.”
“Hey, Watson . . . Watson!” I lifted the whisk. “I’m not stirring it. I’m not stirring it. I’m not stirring it. I’m not stirring it . . .”
I am flipped a bird that is not turkey and start humming the Jeopardy think music . . .
“Honey,” said Mom, eying Dad as he reached for the last roll. “Remember, you’re having cake.”
“You’re right,”he said, pausing only a moment before securing the roll and the butter. “I am. This is my one chance to pig out and I’m going to do it.”
“Spoken like a man who bought a large amount of Prilosec this morning,” I said.
“Mommy,” said Sunny. “I don’t want to eat this.”
“Since when do you not like turkey?” I asked.
“Since this turkey.”
“Right. Then have some mashed potatoes. Or your veggies.”
“But they’re too hot.”
Five minutes later. “Try them now, honey. you can’t just have a roll for dinner—you’ll be hungry later.”
“But they’re too cold. Can I have another roll?”
Watson, eyeing the mountain of interlocked clean dishes my Mom left in the drainer: “Looks like I’m gonna be playing Jenga.”
“Oh my God, look—look! I found the lid to this bowl and it fits! It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!”
“Hallelujah! Here’s the rest of the green beans. Do it again.”
About ten o’clock, while I’m brushing my teeth:
“Mommy,” said Sunny, rubbing her eyes. “I’m hungry.”
* Jane aced a spelling test for the first time in fourth grade! Her best attempt (for a given value of the word) to that point was a C-minus—Watson and I couldn’t tell if she had test anxiety, some kind of block, or a severe case of Don’t Want To. But she buckled down all week, memorizing five words a day. I couldn’t be prouder of her for trying so hard. We were there when she took the test and every time she wrote down a word, she giggled—she knew she’d nailed it.
**I still have flashbacks from Jane’s last recital.