It's the day before Thanksgiving and all through the house
Nary a whiff of pies cooking for me and my spouse.
And that my friends is about as poetic as I can be.
I think I'm learning something about myself - don't know yet if it's good or bad. In years past I've whined about the stress level of everything that goes into holiday celebrations. The grocery shopping for all the food to cook. The crowds. The decorations. The gifts to buy and mail. All that on top of the regular to do lists.
So here I am the day before T'day not doing one of those things. It's past 1 pm, I'm still in my pjs, and, I'm ashamed to admit, I'm still in the sack. I hear lawn mowers and weed whackers outside the window. Neighbors and dogs and birds are all up and about. And here I sit. Not the least bit stressed and not liking it so much. But also not wanting to do anything about it.
Is that me complaining of not having stress? What? Doesn't anything make me happy? Do I want the big to do and all that comes with it? Or do I want a quiet, reflective time with a piece of pie and a cup of tea? Will I sound completely nuts if I tell you I DON"T KNOW what I want?
I've been thinking about the kids at the Oaks Mission. Wondering about what Thanksgiving is like for the kids who don't have a home to go home to. There was a woman there whose quiet, gentle presence has stayed with me since our return home. Arlene, was the cook. Twice a day she prepared meals for fifty or more people. They weren't gourmet meals. When you're trying to nourish a passel of kids from 5-18 plus hard-working grownups, I suspect you think in quantity, not quality. [Please, don't take that to mean the quality was sub-par. It wasn't. It just wasn't Martha Stewart's version of cafeteria food.] The meals were made up of homey classics - macaroni and cheese, hotdogs and beans, chicken cooked in various ways, spaghetti, and my favorite Indian Tacos.
In fact it was the fry bread tortillas that endeared me to Arlene. I don't know why. I was just taken by the way she slapped a glob of dough between her hands until it flattened out to the size she didn't have to measure to know it was right. Perhaps the recipe and rhythm was passed down through the DNA of grandmothers who mixed and slapped the same dough and cooked it on a hot rock. Maybe it was just so routine she could do it in her sleep. Either way, as her hands moved back and forth, back and forth, she took on the look of an angel. Not a singing hallelujah angel, more like a mother whose hands and heart meet the needs of her children in everyday ways. It called to mind women of by gone days who spun wool, made quilts, churned butter, plucked a turkey and swept never ending dust from her planked floors, their hands both roughed up and worn smooth by their work.
Arlene came to work every day and prepared meals for children who called the mission home. Her mundane kitchen chores and the taste of her carb-laden dinners might be the very thing these children will recall when they have homes of their own. How one woman said I love you every time she dished up a spoonful of comfort food.
Today I'm grateful for our Puritan mothers who somehow found the courage to say, "sure I'll go." [That's not to say I'm particularly proud of everything that happened once the Mayflower knocked up against Plymouth Rock.] Those hearty women, I think, were the backbone of this country from day one. I'm often scared of my own shadow and don't much feel like an adventurer, but I've got the blood of women who said "yes" in my veins. I'm also grateful for time. It just feels important to me right now. Time to do and time to be still.
Wishing for you cranberries and pecans,