Something to be thankful for

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I peeked out through the shades in the living room to see giant snow flakes falling softly in the early morning light. It felt like a holiday, but I missed the smell of food cooking so familiar at my parents’ house.

I decided to remedy that. Perhaps it would wake up the sleeping beauties in the darkened apartment.
We haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in three years. That’s partly because it’s a tough holiday to split up between our two sets of in-laws who live just a few miles apart from each other. 

It still never fails that I miss spending these special days with my family. The food, the conversation, the hours and hours of catching up around the table.
Try as I might, I cannot recreate the experience, the warmth, the feeling of the larger family group gathering on these days.
We have little traditions that we hold on to. Mostly food related. On Wednesday, Cheryl picked up some  aged cheeses and a bottle of wine. Around 10 a.m. on Thursday, we Skyped my sister Aimee, who was holding the annual Akimoff Cheese Competition at her house this year. 
It was nice to see everyones’ face and enjoy a glass of wine together through the digital avenue of our computer and an Internet connection. But it wasn’t the same as being there.
My brother Mark won this year with an aged Brindisi from Willamette Valley Cheese Co., and I could only imagine how good it tasted. 
I spent a good portion of the morning cutting up root veggies for my roasted root veggie medley that has become our own little Thanksgiving tradition, and once it started to roast, the smells of caramelizing rutabagas, beets, parsnips, carrots, garlic and other goodies right out of God’s green earth made the house smell like heaven.
The snow piled up high by midday, and it made for the best driving in nearly two weeks. Intersections were far more navigable, and traffic seemed to flow without the nerves of the ice driving we’ve been doing. 
We made our way through the quite, billowy winter wonderland to the home of the Boots family, where we were invited to spend Thanksgiving dinner. I found it absolutely brimming with the smells I usually associate with home and mom.
It’s not always easy to fit into a new place, especially on the holidays when you’re far from home. And yet every family has traditions that you can see and share. I found myself focusing on the similar traditions that my family holds and the similarities at another house a million miles away.

We had  beautiful day with new friends. I spent an hour watching their old home movies just to get a sense of who they were in this place. We ate and ate and drank good wine and beer and talked all afternoon.

It wasn’t a whole lot different from what I love about hanging out with my family. It was just a different cast of characters.

I wondered how difficult it would be to get through the holidays in this new place, new job, new faces, new streets, new sky, new life. Thanksgiving was the litmus test, and from what I can tell, everything turned out well, which means the rest of our holidays may turn out. And that bodes well for life in general, does it not?

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