Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Gratitude with an Attitude

There is something about November.

It is definitely my most favorite month out of them all. It is my birthday month, and it's also the month that ushers in the holiday spirit, starting with Thanksgiving and then preparing us for Christmas. Even though we see very little changing of the seasons here in Dallas, just knowing that the leaves up in the Catskills are beautiful shades of orange is enough for me to get into the Fallish Holiday Spirit.

Call me Pollyanna or an Idealist, but I love Thanksgiving. I love everyone sitting around the dining room table talking about the things for which they are thankful, with only room in our hearts for love and gratitude. I love pumpkins on the front porch and a cornucopia on the table and candles and china and little turkey napkin rings made out of ChellBell's traced hands.

I am not a fan of traditional Thanksgiving food, although I try very hard to work it into my menu, so the traditionalists can get their fill of turkey and stuffing (I'm seriously gagging...), in addition to my corn chowder, game hen, and roasted rosemary new potatoes. I am that weird one who loves to stand in the line at the grocery store for hours with my shopping cart full of Thanksgiving ingredients, flipping through the magazines at the checkout to find one last must-have recipe. It's the rite of passage for the Thanksgiving meal, and it means that very soon I will be standing in my kitchen beginning the preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. This, to me, brings happiness.

So this year, we're doing it a little bit differently.

My in-laws are in the states for a sabbatical, so my sister-in-law made arrangements for a group of friends and family to stay in a cabin in Oklahoma for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be cooking our Thanksgiving dinner in a cabin. I'm not sure what kind of pots and pans the cabin is equipped with or even what the sleeping arrangements will be. And I'm getting very nervous about all of it. It's stressful to me to think about being out of my element and known surroundings for the preparation of such a big event. I won't know where the knives are (Gosh, I hope they have knives...) or what kind of roasting pan is waiting for me.

And while many of you would be ready to call in an order to the nearest Luby's -- let someone else do the cooking (didn't I just blog about that?) -- the experience of the holiday, at least for me, is the preparation. And without that, a large part of the holiday is lost.

I know, I know. Thanksgiving is about Gratitude. It's about having each other. Period. It's about blessings. Period. Whether I cook a grand meal, or heat up a turkey roast from Luby's in a cabin microwave.

Gratitude without the Attitude.

I'm in no way saying it's going to be easy, but I will say that I'm determined to get through it. With a smile. Or at least a half smile.

But I've already packed up the cornucopia and will be plopping it right in the middle of whichever table I end up sitting at...

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