Desert Thanksgiving

No “over the river and through the woods” for us as Thanksgiving approached. Instead, we left for the desert on a jet plane.

Differences didn’t end there. Instead of grandmother’s house, we headed to Chandler, AZ to visit a son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. Our son Murray deep fried the turkey wearing his shorts and sandals in their back yard against a backdrop of palms and a grapefruit tree. Twelve-year-old grandson Jack showed us his website building project on his computer, and granddaughter Lauren shared her dreams of becoming a world traveling photographer after her college graduation in the spring. All were far removed from “the horse knows the way to follow the sleigh.”

Thankfully, some things never change. Daughter-in-law Steph used her grandmother’s recipes for green beans, cornbread dressing, and sweet potatoes crowned with marshmallows. Steph’s mother joined us, and family gathered around the loaded table – lured by aromas from the stove and the backyard turkey fryer. Jests about who was hogging the rolls mingled with appreciation for the cooks and remembrances of other Thanksgivings with other family members no longer with us.

It may not have been through the woods to grandmother’s house, but delicious food, good fun, and thoughts of family both past and present and both absent and around the table made for a true Thanksgiving in the desert. The day ended, as good Thanksgivings do, with moans of, “I’m so stuffed I can’t eat another bite,” and a retreat to the couch for football games.

[The traditional Thanksgiving lie was also put to rest before long as those too stuffed to eat another bite made the sacrifice and found a place for pecan or pumpkin pie.]