Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving doesn't just happen, you know.

Today women (and yes, it's women) across America begin a week of hectic chaos that only the holidays can bring. Like me they are looking forward to visiting relatives and only have a few things to attend to.

Make a menu, not only for Thanksgiving day, but for breakfasts and lunches while visitors stick around for the weekend. Go the grocery store where hundreds like yourself check off 2 notebook pages of items. The grocery store never has enough checkers. Why should they? Are you just going to leave? Not likely. So while standing in line you catch up on what Brad and Angelina are doing with their brood, while your head is filled with what else you have to do.

Go home unload the groceries, clean the house, change the sheets (get out the good ones), wash clothes and the tablecloth you haven't used in a year, run buy some candles for the centerpiece, make sure the bathrooms have towels that match, run buy wine and beer, wash the dust off your good china and crystal, and don't have to make dinner tonight, you know. Did you get something at the grocery store for that? Of course not. You run back to get some pork chops for tonight. Then you remember that if you can get some presents for family and wrap them before they get here, you can give it to them to take back and you won't have to mail them. So you run to the mall, buy the gifts, run home and wrap them and then forget to give them to your relatives when they leave and you have to mail them anyway.

You come home, fold the towels and clothes and iron the tablecloth. Make dinner for tonight and contemplate starting to drink early, like today.

Wednesday comes, you've made dinner, and soon relatives and friends arrive and everyone is so excited to see each other they laugh and drink and eat and no one helps you clean up. That's fine. You love that everyone is having fun. You drink too much too because cleaning up is more fun when you do, and wake up Thanksgiving day with a headache.

But that's what bloody mary's are for, right? You get up early, shower and get ready because you know you won't have time later. You make breakfast for everyone and then clean up while they get dressed. Then comes the cooking and serving of the turkey, dressing, corn casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, cranberries, salad, bread, cakes, blueberry crisp and fudge pie.

Everyone eats and drinks too much and falls asleep in front of the TV watching football while you and your sweet sister-in-law, mom, and mother-in-law help you clean up, thank God.

Friday morning the crazy women in your family get up at 5am to go shopping and the men sleep late. In the afternoon you lay out the leftovers and wash the towels everyone has used.

Some leave on Saturday and some stay till Sunday, but it's been wonderful and exhausting and maybe, despite it all, your thankful that this holiday forces us to get together with the people we love.

Oh yeah, Monday is Dec. 1st. Now you can get ready for Christmas. Don't worry, you can sleep in January.