Today is one of my favorite days of the year. The anticipation for a holiday is the best part; and I simply love the energy. For at least today, the world and I are in tune. Everyone is thinking about the things I love most, and for the most part people feel very warm toward one another. I dare say this particular Wednesday before Thanksgiving this year is my idea of perfection. Cool enough that I can use my deck as refrigerator, a light rain that makes the kitchen all the more ensconcing, and enough breeze to bring the now subdued and leathery falling leaves to life as they flit to the forest floor.
I had a lovely morning driving around waving at people pretending I belonged there as I parked, left the car running, and stole shit from their yards and fencerows. Barbie never ceases to amaze me with her intuition. She sensed the devious nature of the errand and presumed the drivers seat as I clipped and loaded into the trunk. She slumped down a bit as to keep a low profile but still drive the getaway car if need be. Being half Border Collie, I don’t think that’s an impossibility. Now the less picturesque part was when I walked my fat ass right into a patch of raspberry brambles. Let’s just say whatever innocence was left in me is gone as those canes got places they shouldn’t have. I felt violated. I was so stuck I wondered if I might need to abandon my shorts and hurry back to my car, parked roadside in the brush.
|Beautiful orange berries,, often found growing in fence and hedgerows.|
|How very Ohio to enjoy--a surprise bovine vista|
As I was searching for and collecting bittersweet, I couldn’t help but admire the perfection of that very German word. Did you know I speak German? I mean, to be fair, I speak like a slow, drunk 8th grader but enough to get by. Anyway, I feel German is often written off as an ugly language. People think it sounds like hacking or even less attractive actions. The truth is German is straightforward and without adornment, but very sincere. Which is why it is full of portmanteaus—devices not all languages embrace. I am wholeheartedly a fan of the portmanteau, especially of bittersweet. Such a simple, clear word with strong, evocative meaning. There is nothing more bittersweet than a holiday. We might visit with the memories of someone gone, reconnect with someone now outside of our everyday orbit, or be confronted by their mile-marker nature. There’s always bitter and always sweet. On this particular day before Thanksgiving, I am feeling some of the bitter but more of the sweet. Perhaps if you are feeling the scale tipped the other way, remember you can’t have one without the other. Embrace the bitter, but taste the sweet.
|The chaos of prepwork is almost over|
|Came across a Civil War monument on the 35 minute drive for duck eggs|
A few relevant tips for today:
-Light a candle next to your cutting board when chopping onions. It burns the gas they let off and reduces tears.
-If you get off schedule tomorrow, relax. Have a drink-or scream into a towel if you’re an alcoholic-and remember that no one will die if dinner is late. Give them whatever you can to tide them over and tell them to shut the fuck up.
-The whole reason we do this is to gather, enjoy, and affirm whatever being American (or human) means to you. You can still do that with runny gravy, dry turkey, and cheap wine. Just not with burned stuffing. Don’t burn the stuffing. Don’t forget to take note of that in the mad rush before declaring Okay, let’s eat! A tiny toast goes a long way. I remember once on a Christmas Eve episode of Live, Regis Philbin said that one should always toast and always keep it under 59 seconds.
How’s your prep going?