home to California on my tiny stipend was not practical. Add to that the
fact that I was low woman on the holiday totem pole and one article on
soup kitchens and free meals on Thanksgiving Day coming right up.
That first Thanksgiving far away from home was only made bearable by
the people I met that day. Men and women who had far less than I did, but
insisted that I eat alongside them. People who had far more than I did,
yet decided to spend the day feeding others, rather than indulging
It reinforced something that I knew, but always am happy to be
reminded of: I have a lot to be thankful for. The next year, when
Thanksgiving rolled around, I volunteered to work it.
There have been occasions when I've longed for the Thanksgivings of
When I was 7, my mother took my twin sister and I on a trip to
Plymouth for the great turkey day. Lara and I had read a Bobbsey Twins
adventure that had Nan and Bert and Flossie and Freddie solving a mystery
among the cranberry bogs of Massachusetts. We were psyched to see
It was a crashing let down when the rock of our imagination turned out
to be, well, a gray rock. However, Plimouth Plantation, a recreation
pilgrim village complete with craftsmen, was a big hit. And the turkey
dinner at the John Carver Inn wasn't half-bad either.
When we became teenagers, my mother decided Rock Cornish Hens were a
much better choice than turkey for our holiday meal. Thus started the
annual cooking and stuffing contest, in which my sister and I would
challenge each other to see who could make the best and most unusual
stuffing. This was preceded by the annual Cornish Hen Dance, in which the
poor birds would be forced to boogie while washing underneath their
On my second Thanksgiving away from home, Lara reported that I missed
a classic moment. In her haste to make a wonderful cooked turkey for my
sister and her husband, my mother forgot to take the clear plastic wrap
off the bird.
Apparently the family was alerted to this fact when a strange burning
smell started wafting through the kitchen. My mom thought the bird could