From my childhood on into young adulthood, I did not much like November. I considered it a rather boring month. The political campaigning, which drew to a fever pitch in the first days of the month, did not impress me, and the weather, typically dreary and too often promising snow without delivering enough for skiing, depressed me. Veterans’ Day provided a little light break, typically involving me calling or giving a hug to the vets in my family. And then there was Thanksgiving- fun but a bit stressful at the same time, involving as it did a gathering of my large, loving, loud, and at times deafeningly dysfunctional family.
It seems strange to me that the Thanksgiving holidays from those years that I found most memorable were the ones in which something went wrong. The Thanksgiving we spent in Reno, Nevada, partaking of the buffet at Circus Circus is one example. Meaning no offense to any of the staff there, but that was the driest, most tasteless Thanksgiving dinner I ever had. Another was the year when I had Thanksgiving dinner with just my siblings and our pets. Since we were all broke, our church provided a turkey and a box full of trimmings. I baked up my first pumpkin pie, which turned out surprisingly well. My sister set it out to cool. Then my dog Blue discovered it, and by the time I caught her, she’d eaten half of it. That day, I learned courtesy of the veterinary emergency hotline how to pump a dog’s stomach.
The Thanksgiving dinner we had literally the night before my husband and I got married had all the ingredients for the worst Thanksgiving dinner ever. This time, we had my husband’s family contributing some decibels of dysfunction to our family gathering, and rather than cooking for the whole mob when we had a wedding the next day, we settled for another hotel buffet. Furthermore, both Barry and I had come down hard with colds. But the buffet at the Doubletree Inn by the Boise River was surprisingly good. Everyone got along great. We didn’t have any veterinary emergencies. And for the first time, Thanksgiving stood out in my mind not because of what went wrong, but simply because of what it was. For Barry and me, it was a celebration of what togetherness really means.
I love November now, and everything that comes with it.
I’m thankful for Election Day. I’ve stepped up my observances of Veterans’ Day. And I don’t even mind the weather any more.