Thanksgiving is the best holiday ever invented. Full. Stop. Granted it may come from questionable roots, but what it has become to my family and friends, is a holiday centered around gratitude, relationships, and gluttonous consumption of delectable foods. For a family that has named its home and lifestyle Convivia (a party centered around food and friends), it stands to reason that this holiday would be significant, and for me it is doubly so.
So when we planned to break from our lifestyle choice of eternal summer, it was for a very very good reason. We would be able to celebrate this greatest of holidays (for the first time in eleven years) with our family.
You can imagine, given the above, how traumatizing it was when an early snow storm threatened to shut us out of the celebration. Our hosts, Uncle John and his partner Laurie, and Laurie’s sister Karen, had suffered a power outage of unknowable duration, and it was pretty clear that the oven (needed to cook the bird) and the water (pumped up from a well) would be unavailable. It was looking like we would have to cancel, but our hosts put their heads together and came up with a plan.
We piled into three cars (10 people altogether) and headed out into the snow to John and Laurie’s farmhouse in Western Massachusetts. We arrived to a bustle of activity in the kitchen. Buckets of snow were melting on the woodstove for “dirty jobs,” the turkey was cooking on the BBQ, and every hot surface was cooking something. Possibly the best was the shrimp on the woodstove.
The sun went down before dinner was served, so we lit all the lanterns and candles we could find, and used our array of flashlights to illuminate the key job areas. When we finally sat down to eat, it was just candlelight. The feasters had managed to prepare, cook, and serve a meal for thirteen people without most modern conveniences. The food was probably ten times more delicious than it would have been without the extra hassle of preparation, and the fact that everyone had to work together, through some hardship seemed apropos, given the spirit of the holiday.
I’ve attended a thanksgiving feast for each of my thirty nine years, and there have been many memorable ones. This one though will stand out for its circumstances, attendees, and our hosts’ amazing fortitude.