This is the kind of Thanksgiving I remember. Crisp. Cool. Splashes of brightly colored leaves intermingled with green oaks and evergreens. The smell of sage and thyme and nutmeg wafting through the living room, and the distant commentating of a 49er’s game on TV in the background. This is the kind of Thanksgiving I am having again.
Being back in the San Francisco Bay Area continues to bring back so many memories for me. I feel like my parents might be alive and down the peninsula, if only I were to get in the car and drive to their home. My dog, Micky, might still be there, causing some kind of mischief. My brothers, funny, rowdy and boyish, might show up, and round up friends for a basketball game while the turkey cooks.
I know what the day sounds like. I know what the air tastes like. I know what is true. I know love.
I know love again, differently now.
Today my husband is in bed with a cough and a chill, and we have told our family to stay away, away from any lurking germs in our home. I am cooking a bird anyway, although it might not get eaten until tomorrow or the next day, because I am hoping that somehow the smells from the kitchen will bring him out of bed and back to health.
Today my husband’s son– (my son, too, now, actually; I sometimes call him my son, but I feel like I can’t really take that kind of credit for him and how amazing he is)– is in Idaho with his girlfriend’s family. He called me an hour ago as he was making my mother’s Pecan Pie, with questions about caramelizing the sugar and butter. That my mother’s spirit is alive and as sweet as ever in Boise today, makes me happier than I can say.
Today my brothers are with their families, being good husbands. One is at his in-laws for lunch, then going out to dinner with his son. My other brother, I bet, is going to enjoy the traditional crab legs for dinner and then call me with the sacred family grace we stole from Mad Magazine years ago: “Stuff your gut…..” is how it begins, then goes downhill from, there. Still rowdy, still boyish, still wonderful.
Yes, I am grateful, deeply so. In the decades that I have been on the planet, my life has been colorful and interesting. I have found love, lost it, then found it again. The shape of my family has shifted and changed, but is still joyful and loving. My friends, perhaps my greatest asset, are still mostly in my life, like a constellation of stars, at some distance apart from me, but always there when darkness comes.
And finally, I am back in the most delightful city in the world.
The bird is almost ready to come out of the oven, my husband is up and wondering when dinner is, and the 49er’s game is about to begin.
I think this will be another very Happy Thanksgiving.
I wish you a truly Happy Thanksgiving, too.