For the first time in twenty years someone won’t be at our Thanksgiving table. I knew it would happen one day, I just didn’t realize how much a void her absence would be. Yup, for a number of reasons Dylan is staying in Chicago this weekend and while I’ve been a bit sad she wasn’t coming home, I thought hell, I haven’t been home for a Thanksgiving since 1989, what’s the big deal? As this day approaches, all I can say is that my mom should be pouring me a bitter glass of comeuppance and texting me that “karma is a bitch baby,” but she’s too nice.
While we’ll be doing our own things, Dylan and I are both feeling like the day isn’t quite legit without our family together. Except for 2012, when Andy was in Eindhoven, we’ve managed to keep our little family intact for Thanksgiving. However, we’ve never felt small thanks to our Friendsgivings. We’ve been doing that before it was even a “thing.” During our first year in Portland we had half my study group over for dinner. The next year, another friend had the other half. Over the years, most of us branched off to our own families. We’ve had a rotating cast of characters at our table. There was the year our friend Kimberly surprised us by flying in from Alaska. We’ve had a few years with Andy’s parents, but they started ditching us when ticket prices to New Zealand became cheaper before the holiday than after, and there was the year our table was in Singapore. A few friends have stayed steady and run the risk of becoming family—I’m talking to you Starla and Bob
Christmas 1995 back in the days we ate Herb (the holiday seitan) and started our annual celebration of Friendsmas and Friendsgiving.
and lately Neisha, Kurt and Ari. They have adapted to our steadfast tradition of dessert first, and if there are any complaints, they’re too savvy to voice them.
Dessert first you ask? How did that come about? One year I was sick enough to be on prednisone and while I was dealing with my rage, which included throwing a broom at my in-laws, everyone thought it would be a good idea if we didn’t invite people to my own private meltdown. It was too early to eat, and we were all starving but the turkey wasn’t ready. In my drugged out state I suggested we just dig into the pies. Best. Idea. Ever. Why? Because we weren’t so stuffed that we couldn’t enjoy them. They tasted delicious and so in that moment we started a tradition that has lasted over ten years. Pie first! In case you were wondering, we also eat pie after, so yeah. We have a lot of pie.
So grab your pie, and your kiddo (if they are home) and remember to give thanks. I’ll just be here in the corner squirting whipped cream directly in my mouth and counting the days till Dylan returns for Winter break.
A happier pie in a happier time.