Janet Sheridan: My Thanksgiving list
November 25, 2015
Halloween and Christmas encroach upon Thanksgiving like two overgrown bullies harassing an innocent child. While still recovering from the sugar-soaked fun of Halloween, we're besieged by the holly-jolliness of Christmas marketing. We shop for a Thanksgiving turkey amidst Christmas must-haves and sit down to eat it under the shadow of Black Friday, which creeps into Thursday, luring us into frenzied shopping sprees.
The November holiday of quiet thankfulness doesn't stand a chance.
Most of us insist on giving Thanksgiving its due, however, as we gather with loved ones to share food and reflect on our blessings. We linger over dinner, compliment the cooks and take second helpings. Laughter and conversation flow easily as we bask in the simple, warm gifts of Thanksgiving.
Each year, I observe a personal Thanksgiving tradition as well: writing about my lesser blessings — the minor devices, events, or actions, normally uncelebrated, that enrich my life.
To begin, I'm thankful for my adventurous appetite that's given me a lifetime of carefree eating. Because of my gusto for all foods, I can find something I'll enjoy in any restaurant or on anyone's table. I don't have to pick the tomatoes out of a salad or refuse a cookie when I spot a raisin. I never bypass mushrooms or tremble at the sight of a coconut flake. I've eaten aardvark stew, munched the liver of a lobster, and downed boiled-until-slimy okra.
True, I experience different levels of enjoyment with different foods — liver doesn't compare to salmon, and I don't go out of my way for pickled pigs feet — but I can eat anything offered by friends, family, or chefs, and I'm grateful to do so.
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Whenever I linger in my yard with its paths, trees, shrubs, flowers, and well-kept lawn, I'm thankful for my gardener. Oh, on occasion I wish he were more punctual, open to my ideas, and courteous; but I can't fault Joel's work.
Tupperware entered my life when I was newly married, responsible for a kitchen, and burdened with an uninformed approach to leftovers: My mom fed seven hungry children and a hungrier husband so rarely dealt with uneaten food. My mother-in-law stored leftovers in their serving dishes topped with dinner plates, a technique I had to abandon: I couldn't manage a refrigerator teeming with spill-prone bowls holding invisible contents.
Then I attended a Tupperware party where I burped Tupperware lids and worried about spending money on the bowl set I fancied. To this day, when I need to refrigerate seven Brussels sprouts and half a chicken, I'm grateful for Tupperware and its kin — though finding lids to fit each container remains a challenge.
I hate to think what my life would be without duct tape and WD-40. Anything can be repaired with these all-purpose tools. Duct tape makes things stay put: So when the head flies off your hammer, your glasses lose a lens, or the skin under your chin droops, you can fix them with duct tape.
WD-40, on the other hand, makes things move: Does it take the strength of three to lower the retractable handle on your rolling luggage? Apply WD-40 and it will glide smoothly to the pressure of your pinky. Screen door squeaking? WD-40. Grandma stuck in her recliner? Spray her with WD-40 and pull.
Finally, I'm happy I've learned that trying to will myself into permanent perfection is like trying to think myself into a prima ballerina. While I might manage to keep my fingernails manicured and forego dessert for weeks, even months, eventually I'll go on a binge and use hands with unkempt nails to stuff my mouth with caramel brownies. But when I do so, I now know that dogs won't howl; daisies won't wilt; birds won't fall from the sky; and beauty queens won't lose their smiles.
I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.
Sheridan's book, "A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns," is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at http://www.auntbeulah.com on Tuesdays.Sheridan’s book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns,” is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at http://www.auntbeulah.com on Tuesdays.Sheridan's book, "A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns," is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at http://www.auntbeulah.com on Tuesdays.