so today . . . i went to the grocery store in preparation for thanksgiving day.
yes, i know thanksgiving is tomorrow. and yes, i also know that there is no way a frozen turkey of any size will thaw in time to be cooked for dinner tomorrow. but that is ok, because we aren't having turkey for thanksgiving dinner. i'm not quite sure what we are going to have . . .
. . . because i'm not cooking. usually i do. while i don't cook a lot in my normal life, thanksgiving dinner is the exception. traditionally my mom and dad have come to our house for the long weekend, but now that we live 1000 miles away, it is a pretty long drive for a four day weekend.
and so now our thanksgivings are not always the traditional kind.
the first time i broke tradition was a few years ago when rollie and diandra were out of town. i had to fend off several dinner invitations from people who were horrified that i would be alone, but i was kind of excited about it. the night before thanksgiving, i went to the grocery store and picked out the foods that sounded good to me, because i certainly was not going to cook a huge dinner just for myself! and then i spent thanksgiving day in front of the tv watching christmas movies. my holiday dinner consisted of canned chili with fritos and shredded cheese, and a box of ding dongs for dessert. i made my christmas list from the ads, and went shopping ridiculously early on black friday. by myself. (i couldn't quite break all the traditions . . . )
that was the year i realized that the earth wouldn't stop spinning if i didn't bake a turkey on the fourth thursday of november.
then there was our first diandra-less holiday. technically i guess it was my second diandra-less holiday, but it was the first one rollie and i had shared. so we decided we would make a new tradition. we realized diandra was all grown up now, and there might be years when she wouldn't be with us at thanksgiving, so we needed a plan. my plan was that i wouldn't cook and clean up all that food for just the two of us. we decided our new plan would be to eat out for thanksgiving dinner. at about 2:00 we got in the car and headed to sizzler. it was closed. ok, maybe olive garden. it was closed. i was worried that i was beginning to see a pattern here. red lobster was closed. the outback steak house was closed. black angus was open, but booked solid with reservations.
reservations. that would have been a good idea . . .
we drove on. hometown buffet was closed. subway was closed. (you can see our standards lowered in direct proportion to our hunger.) burger king was closed. i was beginning to think we were going to have a repeat of the canned chili with fritos dinner--only i didn't have any fritos or ding dongs, and the grocery stores were closed too. i did have tuna fish. and bread . . .
and then we saw it . . . a place to eat with the lights on! we eagerly turned into the empty parking lot, and went inside and placed our order. as we sat at the table eating our sourdough jacks (yes people, we were at jack in the box!) i couldn't help but smile. were we rebels or what!
this year is going to be another tradition-breaking thanksgiving. i've been sick, and while i usually kind of enjoy cooking on thanksgiving, this year it just isn't going to happen. my plan was to call around and see what restaurants were going to be open, and possibly make a reservation. but that didn't happen either. so we have a new plan for thanksgiving this year. it is called eating snack food all day long and then driving around to see if we can find a place to eat dinner (knowing we can always end up at jack in the box.) that is why i had to go to the store tonight, because we don't really keep snack food in the house any more--except for nuts.
i went to the grocery store with a list in my head--chips for me, cookies and crackers for diandra, apples and bananas for rollie (although that doesn't really enter into the spirit of snack food, since it is good for you--so i bought him cookies too,) and soda pop for all. lest you think that is all we will eat, i also bought lettuce in case we had a craving for salad (uh huh--that's going to happen) and yogurt.
the grocery store on the night before thanksgiving is a surprisingly busy place. i noticed three kinds of people there--the "on a mission" people who are racing madly around the store, tossing items into their cart, because they have to get home and bake pumpkin pies and make jello salads, and figure out how to thaw a 25 pound turkey in time to bake it in 12 hours. then there are the "shell-shocked" ones who wander aimlessly through the aisles unable to put anything in their carts. they don't know what they need or where to find it. they have 15 people coming to their house for dinner the next day, and they have no idea what to serve. except for turkey, which they don't know they have to thaw first . . . and then there are the "whatever" people, who know that tomorrow is thanksgiving, but dinner is NOT at their house. they just have to bring the soda or rolls or whipped cream for the pie that someone else will bake.
and then there was me, buying snack food--no turkey, no pumpkin pie, no vegetables or rolls. people were probably thinking, "does she even know what tomorrow is?!?!?!"
but that's ok, because i do know what tomorrow is. and it isn't about the food. really. it is thanksgiving--a day to be thankful for all the wonderful things we have in our lives--even if a home-cooked turkey dinner isn't one of them.