Thanksgiving weekend was a chrysalis, populated with crowds of family and friends of ever decreasing sizes until we were left with just a few family members and a sustained sense of gratitude. Family left just as snow began Monday afternoon. It’s Wednesday, and it’s still snowing. The cocoon is thicker, a blanket, and it only seems right to get back to the studio again.
There won’t be much painting for the next few days as cooking and communing take precedence over brushes and palettes, but that does not mean there will be no creativity. Indeed, there will be creation and re-creation.
Wednesday morning as I was cleaning and preparing for our guests, news came that a dear friend had passed away just hours before. The news was not unexpected. There was comfort that she had not been in any pain and had been with her husband more than 40 years at the time, and at first I did not cry. I kept working, kept preparing for the arrival of family.
Tears came later throughout the day as memories of past Thanksgivings when this couple had joined our family at our place and theirs. I thought of this friend — a former nun and later wife, a teacher, a volunteer in the community. I thought of how her life had been defined by giving love to the people around her and how it was reflected back by her friends and most especially her husband who had recently remarked that he was thankful for every second of their 40 years together.
My parents and sister are with us today for Thanksgiving. Our friend, now a widower, will join us for comfort food.
I got up early today, like many housewives around the country, to start cutting and chopping, drafting a list of chores for the kids to help with, and preparing tonight’s feast. Sometimes I question the sense of the over-the-top meal I prepare every year. It’s more food than we normally eat in a week, and surely there are ways to make it more casual.
This year, however, I don’t want it to be casual. I want it to be an over-the-top expression of how I thankful I am for the people in my life. Today I want to focus on who and what make life meaningful — creating, family, making even a small contribution to the common good. And as the onions and turkey brown while Grandma plays Monopoly with her mostly grown grandchildren who insist on keeping certain uproarious traditions going, I will be thankful for every second of it.
The B side turned out to be practical both in terms of speed and kitchen style. We haven’t dried herbs since the first or second year we were in Vermont, but I love seeing them in the kitchen garden. They seemed like they wouldn’t kill any appetites while people are piling up the turkey.
The best part about painting a door is that when one side done, I get to go to the B side and start over. This is the side people will be looking at when they sit down for turkey next week. Next up, what do we want to look at when we’re serving the bird?
This has become a slightly longer and winding project, but it has been fun going home and going big. My new temporary wall should be done tomorrow night, and then it’ll be time for a new blank canvas.