In my last post, "Snow Day", I wrote how my view of summer swims and winter snow-fun have changed with the passage of time. I'm not sure I can think of a more picturesque timeline of aging than the roles we play at Thanksgiving.
At sixty-something, I've moved from the kids table to very near the far opposite end of the long table. You know the continuum I'm talking about: Five minutes in to the meal the little kids are off to play after having not "eaten enough to keep a bird alive." The next generation are off in a corner with the earbuds in, texting their equally bored friends at family gatherings everywhere. Those that can (and a few who shouldn't) head outside for touch football.
Then there's our end of the table. We're still at the table, covering deep subjects: how many MPGs we got on the drive over, how this could be the last Thanksgiving now that ObamaCare is the law of the land, the roll-call of all those we know who have had joint replacements and other surgeries (pass that giblet gravy).
Speaking of giblet gravy: there's a reason that the offal comes in a separate bag when you buy a turkey--so you can throw it away. Don't put it in the gravy or dressing or anything else people might consume.
The "offal", btw, is a collective term for the liver, gizzard and other viscera; also known as the "guts" or "innards". I'm guessing the derivative of the word might be that someone looked at a pile of innards and said what should we call this? The unanimous opinion was "awful" but it was misheard.
While on the subject of food, which obviously is the star of the Thanksgiving production, and speaking of ingredients that shouldn't be added: my Amazing-Missus' family has a tradition of adding oysters to the dressing. It's a dish that's been on the table at each Thanksgiving we've celebrated together in our 41 years of marital bliss. I don't know that I've ever seen anyone actually eat it. Oh they'll courteously put a glob on their plate, but I've never heard anyone say, "Pass me some more of that oyster dressing!"
I'm glad it's on the table though because it serves the role of all good traditions--it connects the generational dots, it keeps the narrative going, it helps us remember. I know that someone will look at the spread of food and say, "Oh, here's the oyster dressing. Granddad loved oyster dressing." Granddad is the great-great-great grandfather of those who are the youngest of our Thanksgiving gathering and though he has been gone for many years, he's still part of the story.
You might say he's still "at the table" albeit the far, far end from the kid's table. That's what I want--to always have a place at the table.
Maybe someone will say, "Here's the green bean casserole. Wasn't it that crazy Uncle, what was his name, who loved green bean casserole?"
Oh, FYI: The green bean casserole was first created in 1955 by the Campbell Soup Company. Dorcas Reilly led the team that created the recipe while working as a staff member in the home economics department. The inspiration for the dish was "to create a quick and easy recipe around two things most Americans always had on hand in the 1950s: green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup." --Wikipedia