Monday, November 23, 2009


I keep bugging Dan with questions.
"Does your mom make the kind of stuffing inside the bird, or only the kind that gets baked separately?"
"Growing up, were you guys an eat-at-2'o clock or eat-at-4'o clock Thanksgiving family?"
"What kind of sweet potatoes does your mom make?"
"What kind of pies?"
"There will be mashed potatoes, right?"

And really, I have no reason to question the merits of the Thanksgiving meal in Lynden. Sue is a phenomenal cook. Everything she's ever made, I have wanted more of, almost immediately. It's just that this is my very first Thanksgiving where I won't be with my parents. I know what you're thinking, Shelle, you're 30 years old, it's time to cut the cord. Don't worry, I have taken the command to "leave and cleave" very seriously and Dan and I are starting to make our own family traditions. That doesn't mean I won't miss the oh-so-very traditional Thanksgivings I enjoyed in the past.

Yes, we were cheesy and went around the table and everyone said something they were thankful for, and yes, as a teenager, I probably scowled through the exercise, but was secretly glad we did it anyway. We all had a job too. Jen would make a fruit salad, Kasey started out by setting the table, but I think he eventually was promoted to mashed potato man, and I did the appetizers. I took my job very seriously. As a kid, I cut up veggies and made a ranch dip, but my appetizers evolved as I grew up. One year I made a homemade cheese ball with fancy cheese and port wine. Another year I did a baked brie with honey.

Guests were always welcome. When I was in college, my dad always asked if all my friends had plans, because if they didn't, they were certainly invited to Oregon with me. One year, right after I moved to Pullman, I invited my co-worker/friend, Kristene. She was from New Zealand and had never experienced an American Thanksgiving. She was a great help in the kitchen and fun to have around. My brother and sister thought she was pretty funny and everyone loved her "exotic" accent. But what was most entertaining to us was that at dinner she asked if she could have one of the turkey legs. Sure, why not? None of us cared for the leg. But apparently growing up, she and her brother fought over the drum sticks whenever their mom cooked a turkey. She was happy to have a turkey leg without a fight and we were happy to hear that sibling rivalry was just as prevalent on the other side of the world as it is in the good ol' USA.

This Thanksgiving we will all make some new memories. Jen has been promoted from fruit salad maker to the bringer-of-the-cheesecake at dinner with her husband's family. Kasey will do more than set the table and make mashed potatoes this year because this year he is hosting our parents in Des Moines. He and his wife are also having Christina's parents over too. And me? I'm not too sure what my Thanksgiving job will be this year. Maybe Sue will need help with the pies or the stuffing or the potatoes. Or maybe I'll even make my signature appetizers, just at a different house this year.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. Make some great memories and remember the fun times of Thanksgivings past. We have so much to be thankful for.

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