Archive for November 14th, 2007

November is a tough month for me under any circumstance. Following directly on the heels of a Halloween that isn’t in this country, we have a Thanksgiving that isn’t anywhere I’ve lived since 1993.

Thanksgiving is … was … probably my favorite holiday; all about family and food, but without the pressure of gifts and parties. Important traditions run deep and wide, and emotions can run high over things that to an outside observer might seem a trifle, like green Jell-O.

From the beginning of time, my mother’s Thanksgiving meal included a Jell-o mold of green Jell-O with alternating pineapple slices and red maraschino cherries. One year … for some reason she never clearly explained, but one that must have had something to do with the onset of menopause — at least that’s how we’ll call it now … she took it upon herself to throw years of comfortable ritual to the wind and make an ORANGE Jell-O mold, with carrots.

Well! You can imagine how THAT went over.

Yes, the customs of Thanksgiving are dear to my heart, and I have now had to forego them for 14 years.

Sure, I try to revive them here, but my attempts are pitiful imitations, piffling forgeries of fowl, as many years no turkeys make it this far until just before Christmas, and they’re pathetic representations of the species most of which have known the frozen state for many years before I can even think of stuffing them.

I’ve learned to be grateful for a skinny bird topping out at 6 or 7 pounds … Cornish Game Turkeys, if you will … and have managed in recent years to coax flavor and enough juice for gravy out of birds that died in Russia circa 1999.

Because there’s no holiday on a Thursday in November in Seychelles, any Thanksgiving that I may pull together has to happen on a weekend, and no matter how long I live here that just doesn’t feel right.

Because there are very few Americans, the guests I invite never ‘get’ the holiday, and few have a clue even about cranberry sauce.

Worst of all, of course, is the fact that my mother, my grown kids — my daughter, with my granddaughter, and my son — my brothers with their wives and kids, are all sitting down on the other side of the world. They may not be at the same table, but they’ll all be looking at green Jell-O.

There will be more on this before the month is over …

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