So you want to host Thanksgiving

When I agreed to have Thanksgiving dinner this year, I did so with much reluctance. I had already hosted my share of Thanksgivings and had long since tired of the great turkey challenge. The last time I endeavored to host the great thanksgiving gorge, I was still young and loved the novelty of cooking for my family and friends.

At 47 years old, with four teenagers and a new dog, it was hard to imagine providing for one more living, breathing thing.

My wife, a relative virgin to the thanksgiving dinner, had wanted to host Thanksgiving since our early days of dating. She is a vegetarian and was lost to some of the nuances that characterized the holiday, mainly that we had to serve a turkey.

Back then she wanted to have fondue and with that I closed the door on hosting the holiday.

Every year as the holiday approached, I would hear murmurs from her about doing thanksgiving but somehow I was able to ignore them. Maybe I just got worn down, or had a temporary lapse of judgment when talk of a turkey started in late August, regardless, I caved in. We were having Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year.

We made our announcements and staked our claim on the holiday.

My wife remained optimistic and with gusto started floating ideas for pumpkin casserole while we were still floating in the pool under the summer sun. Having cooked Thanksgiving dinner so many times before, I became the arbiter of what we would serve and no suggestion she made was good enough. Finally, after I wrinkled my nose at the suggestion of wild rice, she seemed to surrender. It was like watching a child discovered coal in their stocking.

So my vegetarian wife started planning our Thanksgiving dinner and I discovered that she had a pretty good idea of what needed to be done. Sure, she wasn’t going to be cooking us a turkey, but neither was I. That would be left to our friends at the Big Y World Class Market.

We started our preparations weeks before the big day. I bought napkins with turkeys on them, she thumbed through her vegetarian cookbooks, and together we came up with a menu. She laid out the ingredients, I poured them in the bowl, she shredded the carrots, I baked the zucchini bread, she cleaned the whole house, roasted the squash, picked up the potatoes, well really, in the end, she kind of did a little bit of everything.

Then in a triumphant blast to the finish line, she cleaned everything up. I helped.

I realize now that the old me, the one that apparently, singlehandedly prepared numerous Thanksgiving meals for banquet size groups, is not the same as the person I have become. Then I didn’t know the value of working collaboratively, and certainly, didn’t appreciate the humility that comes from accepting help. Maybe I did do everything myself, but I have no memories of enjoying it. This year I have one lingering memory, my wife is happy and that’s good enough for me.

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