As I take a breather between pie crusts I am thinking about the way Thanksgiving is in my family. We take our Robert Frost and our Dorothy Day very seriously in these parts.
I think about my senior year in high school when Betsy's family left for Long Island before we got back from marching band, and as we sat down to eat the doorbell rang and there was Betsy holding out a bouquet of flowers she'd stopped at ShopRite for because she didn't want to show up empty handed. "Hi, I'm Betsy. Sara said it
was okay to come over?"
And I'm reminded of the first Thanksgiving I ever hosted (my second Thanksgiving away from home; Daryl and I went to Brodsky's our first year) and suddenly calling Meg's mom and saying "Jane, how do you actually cook a turkey?" And five minutes before dinner, Kary and Georgia showed up with a Mrs Smith's pumpkin pie and some whipped cream and
said, "We decided we wanted to have Thanksgiving after all, is it okay?"
And the one and only Thanksgiving I was married, when we had Thanksgiving on a Saturday because that's what you do when you're a chef, and all four of our parents and at least a couple of our siblings and some waitstaff from his restaurant and of course Robin showed up and it was a madhouse but it was our madhouse, and Robin just took over
everything that my husband wasn't doing without asking if it was okay because he was Robin.
And I think of the night a few years ago when I loaded up my parents' cooler with leftovers to bring to the station for Alien Boy and the desk guard on duty and as I was leaving I heard my dad tell my mom, "I put in the rest of the apple pie to make sure there was enough, was that ok?" and my mom answering, "Good because I was worried
that just the pumpkin wouldn't be enough."
It was okay. It was more than okay.
It will always be okay. That's what it means, that phrase. It's not a formality when someone says thanks. It's what this house has always stood for, and will always stand for, no matter who occupies it.
You are welcome.