Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Night Before
This evening has the holiday feel of Christmas Eve. All three children are under one roof. They have converged from various activities, distant states and academic busy-ness. The refrigerator and freezer are infallible indicators of an upcoming celebration. They are stocked with Food. Some selections are simple - heavy cream, boiled eggs, apple cider and clementines. Other food speaks to a slightly more sophisticated palate - goat cheese, Versailles greens, Chocolate Mousse and shrimp skewers. On this holiday Eve, I hear one daughter talking on the phone in a murmured undertone late into her night, early into my morning. Somewhere, I imagine her boyfriend delighted to have her as his captive audience. My son and my other daughter like to chat about nothing of import for a very long time. I hear her laughter erupt, then his low rumbling voice hammer away at some point or another. Their conversation weaves like branches of a rumbling brook. When my daughter’s boyfriend joins her for her visits home, he and my son build on their friendship just a little more. After five years, these young men still continue to broaden the base of their friendship; they recognize that they are fellow travelers on this life adventure.
Tonight, in a reprise of a tradition that has been upheld in our family for over twenty years, our family and guests gathered around a table to eat the dinner before the one in which we gorge ourselves on seasonal treats. Three days ago, I booked dinner reservations at Goten of Japan. Tonight may be the evening before our dining table groans under the weight of turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, butter, peas, corn, mashed potatoes and more. Tonight we gather around a flame that is used to prepare foods not native to our appetites, delicious none-the-less. Tonight we are on the precipice of a day nationally designated for giving thanks. However, it seems wildly improbable that I could be any more thankful than I am tonight, the night before.