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Well, here we are again.

Just days away from arguing over what’s the best stuffing — traditional or cornbread? Hours away from hearing, “Grandma will only eat jellied cranberries from a can … we have to keep a couple of the cousins separated because of that ‘thing’ a few years back… why do we have to make creamed onions if only one person eats them, and we throw the rest away?” And, “Don’t mention thus and such in front of Rose, she doesn’t know … and Billy says he’s too big to sit with the babies at the children’s table ... Angie became a vegetarian last week and is going to lecture everyone about eating dead birds... Megan says Thanksgiving is an affront to Native Americans, and Kyle refuses to sit down at the table if we’re going to have a blessing first because the ACLU said... ”

Well, happy Thanksgiving to you too, whoever’s left at the table, that is, who doesn’t have their head buried in their phone, or their eyes on the football game.

Actually, it’s my favorite holiday of the year. I think a lot of that has to do with being an only child and not having to put up with all that drama. Oh sure, my mother had two brothers, and we alternated going to different homes each year when I was growing up. Sure, I did sit at the bridge table extension a bunch of times, and different people did have different “issues,” but all that ended when everyone grew up and moved away. Now my cousins have their own celebrations in Raleigh, Memphis, and Encino and get to argue with their own children, grandchildren, and significant others, and I don’t have to hear it.

Actually, I love traditions. I think as we age, going through different stages in our lives, some traditions die off, some are retained, and best of all, new ones are created. My husband and I enjoy the tradition of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. We watch the beginning, love the performances from the Broadway shows, and shiver along with the Rockettes who are high kicking in the barest of outfits while no doubt thinking, “Where’s the hot chocolate? The hell with that, where’s the brandy?”

About an hour and a half into the parade, we put it on record and make our way to Christ Church in Westerly where, as part of Liz Dobson’s “army,” we help cook and serve the community dinner. We’ve been part of this loyal army for about 20 years now and never tire of working shoulder to shoulder with friends we often only see once a year, but we just pick up the conversations and smiles where we left off. It serves as both tradition and validation of a wonderful holiday made even more special when we see friends, neighbors, and total strangers enjoying the food and fellowship we provide. This community dinner is exactly that… a place for anyone who doesn’t have a place to go, doesn’t want to cook a big meal, or is passing through town from somewhere else ... a place to sit down and become part of those smiles. So if you’re looking for the true meaning of the holiday, come join us. We serve from noon to about 2 p.m., the dinner is free and absolutely no one talks about prejudice against Native Americans, eating dead birds — we even offer vegetarian stuffing — and there’s no TV. We do have a talented woman who comes each year and plays the piano in the parish hall; and if you must know the score of the Westerly-Stonington game, just put your head in the kitchen… the workers generally have WBLQ’s coverage on. While reservations are not necessary, we like to have an idea of how many are coming, so call Liz at 401-596-7164 or the church at 401-596-0197. There’s even takeout and delivery available.

An awful lot of grumbling’s been going on in this country since January of 2017. 

Seems many of us have forgotten how to “adult” even if the person running the country was not our choice. There’s so much anger right now and unrest that it’s good that Thanksgiving is here to remind us we live in the greatest country in the world with so many freedoms.

So if now and then you’re forced to sit at the children’s table in someone’s kitchen, or have the kind of cranberries you don’t like, just suck it up, shut up and be thankful, damn it!

Amen.

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