Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Thanksgiving album 2019

This year we had a larger crowd than usual, twenty-seven people all told, and my left leg had decided to ache something awful, so picking my way among all the bodies and legs made me appear even more hobbled than usual. A lovely time was had in the end, even though someone turned off the oven by accident halfway through the cooking of the turkey on Thanksgiving morning, so dinner was an hour late, and the din of voices was at such a pitch that at one point I fled to the back room and just sat on a bed. My cousin Nicky noticed me disappearing down the hall and followed me. She sat with me chuckling and telling me to breathe, because she knows her cousin like the sisters we truly are. Meanwhile my niece Leisa—who is temperamentally somewhat like me and was also feeling overwhelmed—decided to just keep plying people with wine. She kept opening bottles and giving people refills, which made the mood even more festive but with a manic edge. Finally the food was served. It was all delicious, and everybody's energy settled to a murmur, and it was smooth and joyful sailing from there. At the end of the evening, we counted bottles and realized we had consumed fourteen bottles of wine, some from our own stock as well as bottles people brought to the feast.

People who weren't sleeping over left at around midnight, and the twelve people who were sleeping under our roof, plus my daughter and her boyfriend who ultimately slept in their own home, chatted and laughed and debriefed on the evening for two hours more. At some point my daughter and my four nieces began the clean-up, all of them refusing to let me into the kitchen to help. My son was fast asleep on the couch by then, as he'd worked the night before and all that day, arriving at 7 PM to join us from his 24-hour shift at the firehouse. As new man on the totem pole, not yet a year in the job, he will likely be working on Christmas day as well.

My niece Dani invited a young man she's been seeing to the gathering, and we all thought him very brave to agree to meeting the hoards at once. Dani's whole family was here from Orlando, as well her her aunt from Trinidad and many assorted other aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her young man, though a bit shy, held his own. When he left, Dani walked him out, and when she came back into the house we all started chanting "Dani has a boyfriend! Dani has a boyfriend!" like we were in grade school, just to balance our scrupulous effort to avoid making things awkward while her young man was there. She collapsed onto the couch laughing and covering her face. At that moment, my youngest niece, the one who was here last year applying to college, and who is now in her first semester in St. Paul, Minnesota, announced, "I am never bringing a plus one to Thanksgiving!"

The festivities continued until last evening, when we delivered the last of our house guests to the airport. Things are back to normal today, meaning it's time to get back to work—and to a more mindful eating plan. As anxious as I get before Thanksgiving every year, wondering how we will pull everything together in our small New York City apartment, I'm always happy afterward to have spent such intensive bonding time with my loved ones.

For my own record more than anyone else, here are some photos from another epic Thanksgiving celebration in the books.

That last one is my house this morning. Everything was so quiet after our week of revelry, a hush made deeper by snow on the ground outside. I'll be around to catch up with everyone soon, but right now I have to do a phone interview with a woman who was the high school best friend of my book subject. I have done absolutely no work since a week ago. It was a good break, but slightly nerve wracking as I'm feeling somewhat behind my chapter schedule.


  1. Looks like you all had a well deserved wonderful time together.
    I hope your leg is better.

  2. I think part of the charm of having family home for a holiday is having bodies everywhere you go - although like you I need a space to go to even if it's just the bathroom for five minutes - hah

    What a lovely extended family you have, my friend. And your home looks so peaceful in that last picture.

  3. You have such a pretty home. And such a pretty family! But I swear to you- I must have thought of you at least two dozen times over Thanksgiving and wondered, "HOW IN THE HELL DOES SHE DO IT?"
    Because I just could not.

  4. What a beautiful gathering for Thanksgiving you had there. I love reading about your holiday time spent with your loved ones. The true essence of the season.

  5. A record breaking Thanksgiving. Lovely family photos. I hope you leg soreness is nothing serious. A check-up with the doc might be needed.
    You are a busy lady and must stay well, especially for the holiday season. Susan

  6. Lovely photos and it sounds like a good time was had by all. Twenty-seven people is a lot; I think I would have ended up in my bedroom for a brief respite too.

  7. beautiful women and handsome men, y'all are a gorgeous bunch and the love shred is so apparent.

  8. I actually thought of you on Thanksgiving, and how you would no doubt be in the midst of a big family gathering. I would have FREAKED OUT if someone turned off my turkey -- yikes! Thank goodness that worked out OK. Everyone in your photos looks so happy and healthy and full of joy. I also love that photo of your quiet apartment -- it really conveys the peace after all the excitement.

  9. So much light here such painterly light I believe it emanates from your entire family.

  10. 27 people, geez you are brave. I would have been hiding in the bedroom all day. We have about 18 people coming here on Boxing Day and I'm kind of dreading it. But I know I'm blessed to have family so I need to just grit my teeth and enjoy it. :D