For the last 16 years, I’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving at my parent’s house in beautiful South Florida. Surrounded by family, the festive meal places family on the porch of the house, seated around an incredibly long table, with more food than one should eat in a single sitting.
For a few of those years, when I lived in South Florida, it was a quick drive from my place to the dinner table. Most of the years, it involves a drive down from Gainesville. Some years included a trek down from Michigan (snow and all).
Each year, I make a Thanksgiving pilgrimage to my parent’s home in South Florida. Since I can remember, Thanksgiving has been the Holiday for my family — and when I say family, I mean the entire family. Cousins, friends, aunts, everything. My family.
I’ve been very lucky in life and have a lot to be grateful for; one of which is the continuing of this amazing tradition.
Some years, the trip seems too short. It rarely feels too long. This year, Yeni and I were able to take a few days off from the bakery and head down to South Florida for a few extra days.
I start thinking about my thanksgiving message around October… mostly just a mental outline of what I want to say. Pointless really. Every year when I sit to write the message, my mental outlines are thrown away.
I’ve been writing these Thanksgiving messages every year for more than 10 years. I’ve written them when I was thin and in shape, fat and out of shape, married, single, living with Forrest, mourning his loss, and well– a lot of things have changed in the last 10+ years.
I’ve written about the history of Thanksgiving, about losing friends, losing family, gaining family, gaining friends, and more.
For me, each year revolves around the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving remains my New Year’s Eve, my Christmas, my Hallmark moment. From the four corners of the earth, members of my family gather at my parent’s home in Fort Lauderdale for the festive meal– but it’s more than just a plate full of turkey and a side of dressing.
For my family, Thanksgiving provides us the perfect opportunity for a homecoming. In my childhood, the majority of us lived in just one state– generally at most a few hundred miles from each other. In today’s world, we find ourselves spread over the many continents. Each November, we gather in Fort Lauderdale with no plans whatsoever. There’s no agenda, no itinerary, no master plan. In fact, only a Thursday dinner remains certain.
Thanksgiving 2009 involved family, a road trip, and lots of yard work. Although Yeni and I made yet another trip to Florida, we sadly did not get the opportunity to visit all our friends and family “on the list.”
While traveling to sunny Fort Lauderdale, we took a pit-stop in Gainesville and checked out the house. The condition shocked us. It looked absolutely horrible and had what could only be described as negative curb appeal. We headed down to SoFla and knew we had to return and get down to business on some serious yardwork.
Borrowing a chainsaw from the old man, we quickly got to work on the thickest of foliage decorating the house.
Every year, on the fourth Thursday in November, families across the United States gather to give thanks. Some years, the “thanks” flow easily. Other years, families struggle to find the a reason for celebration.
Like so many before, this year brought us joy, sadness, and everything in-between. Life often gets compared to a roller coaster ride. A metaphor I’ve used, but truly don’t like.
It’s that time of the year again… the time where Fred decides to:
Talk about himself in the third person
Change the website design
Look forward to Thanksgiving
Well, we all know that #3 and #4 happen all year long. Man I love some Thanksgiving. (uh oh, looks like I’m talking in the first person again)
So what’s been happening?
We recently purchased a Kitchen-Aid mixer; sadly, something Yeni and I always wanted. Well, maybe not so sad I guess. I mean we both love to cook and she’s been cooking up a storm. We’re talking homemade cannoli, homemade cakes with fondant, and did I mention everything is 100% homemade from scratch? I’ve only used the mixer a couple of times to make bread, but it really does keep with our theme: Dreams come true. Even the small dream of owning a Kitchen Aid mixer can come true. (pictures)
Of course, all of these homemade amazing yummies isn’t helping me lose weight, but did I mention homemade cannoli? I mean Yeni is my dream girl already, but who knew she could make homemade cannoli??
Welcome friends to 2009. Last night Yeni’s family and I went to Michael’s and were surrounded by family to enjoy the New Year’s Celebration. Last year, I was in New York City’s Times Square watching the ball drop after eating an amazing feast at Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn. Wow, that was an amazing meal…
This year was more of a somber tone and I was very fortunate to be surrounded by family. I drank (a little too much) bourbon, ate 12 grapes, participated in an impromptu New Year’s conga, and ate a really good Cookie Cake.
Traditionally, people make New Year’s Resolutions and this year, I’ve decided not to. Did you know that roughly only 12% of New Year’s Resolutions are achieved? Most popular resolutions?
Get a Better Job
Get in Shape
So instead of making a half-assed New Year’s goal, I’m just going to be happy. Think of it as an extended Thanksgiving mood… and I’m just going to be thankful for the friends and family in my life, cherish the good times from the last year, learn from the bad ones, and remember those who left us in 2008.
Happy New Year, Happy Birthday Orlando and Ryan, and Go Gators.