Hey, guess what:
November 2nd was my - wait for it - 13th blogaversary!
Here's a link to not the very first post, but a post that I remember writing and loving those long years ago.
The blog was quiet and then shuttered for a year, but I have a little time right now while I wait for the knee replacement surgery. I can't go trotting off into Manhattan or clean up my garden, but I can read a few books, do some writing, and write a blog entry.
Today, the birches and the oaks are the last of the trees hanging onto their yellow leaves. My elderly neighbor has an enormous (4 story no joke) weeping tree that I shamefacedly cannot identify. It has long cascading leaves that are golden and wave like streamers in the strong winds we are having. There were snow flurries for a awhile this morning. The first true day of early winter downstate.
On Saturday it was 65 degrees when we went to our city's Thanksgiving parade. Mr. Pom was able to drop me off right at the route and I sat in a lawn chair. I have been going to it since I was a girl. This hometown parade tugs at my heartstrings. While we stand in our usual spot in front of the now defunct pizza parlor known as "Cannone's", I am watching the parade go by and my sight is filtered through so many layers of years past.
The day reminds me of my Dad, who would take us to the parade. My Uncle Ed who would march as the Grand Something of the Elk Club. Of dating Mr. Pom and going to the parade , which used to be held at night, and then to The Turkey Bowl, the big football game on Thanksgiving Day between our public high school and Iona Prep.
When we moved back from Memphis, I made all the sisters and their families, and my mom go to the parade. Mystery Man was in the high school marching band. Julia and her friends were clowns. The turkey float signaled that the parade was almost over. And then Santa on the firetruck was the finale.
We used to have a lovely brunch afterwards at my sister Maria's house. The kids would all play football outside or run around shrieking, depending on age. She'd have up some of her Christmas decorations already, and after waffles and bacon and coffee, you would rush to get a comfy chair and a throw for a nap.
Kids grow up and move away. Knees wear out.
And then, a grandson is born!
So when everyone was busy elsewhere this year, we had the delight of taking Peanut. You cannot be left untouched while watching the parade through a two-year old's eyes. He did not want candy. He did not want a toy. He just wanted to stare intently at the police motorcycles and the fire engines and the giant balloons, and best of all, the marching bands and the bagpipers!
It's a veritable Rockwell painting. (Who did live in our town and painted many scenes of it.)
The older I get, the more I treasure the holiday traditions - and the more I am willing to break the ones that do not work anymore.
Most of them are inherited traditions of beauty and perfectionism: homemade pies; each component of the meal made from scratch; gourmet dishes; polished sterling silver; ironed table cloths; dishware and crystal that must be handwashed; 5 extra leaves in the dining table and chairs for 18. And all this is after the housecleaning! Bathroom washings! Multiple trips to the grocery stores! Trips to bakeries and wine shops! The fish market! The florist!
The sumptuous beauty.
The exhausted hostess.
The cranky husband.
The squabbling-about-chores children.
The post-holiday migraine.
This holiday, whether I wanted to do all that, I cannot physically do it. You might say that I have been lucky to draw I The Mother Who Cannot Stand For Long Card. Kinda like winning the holiday lottery, frankly. I can sit back and enjoy?
And you know what? As long as Mr. Pom barbecues the turkey and I can make the stuffing by sitting on a stool at the counter, I don't think anyone cares.
Thus, I bid adieu to the bondage of perfection and control. Everyone is cooking or bringing some part of the meal. There will be a lovely cloth - ironed by the dry cleaner. The rose transferware inherited from my grandmother (dishwasher safe) will be used instead of the china that must be hand washed. I will, however, use my mother's sterling silverware because it is made to be used, not wrapped up in cloth bags in it's wooden chest. I will use the green goblets from Pottery Barn but my great grandmother's crystal will remain in the cabinet. We will have shrimp cocktail, but in the living room out of a chip and dip bowl instead of glass compotes and that take up the entire kitchen counter before they are handwashed.
And then - best of all! - we travel two blocks down the hill and go to sister #5 for dessert!
I can just feel myself relax as we walk into her beautiful home and I am handed a piece of coconut custard pie.
May Thanksgiving be the day you want it to be, however you spend it, wherever you spend it.
Love from the Poms, who thank you for your years of readership of my funny, little blog with tales of no more importance than the stories we have to tell.