Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And like a thousand other commanders on a thousand other battlefields, I wait for the dawn. Jean-Luc Picard. Captain. USS Enterprise.

Heavens above! A Star Trek headline? Yet it is an excellent line, with more than a hint of Shakespeare from an undervalued Star Trek film, Nemesis (2002). The one that was made when, to be honest, the stories were tired.

It is an apt banner to describe how many must surely feel as the annual feast of Thanksgiving nears. In under less than forty–eight hours the majority of Americans, home and abroad, will sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, potatoes, pumpkin pie, and so on. Because it’s traditional, isn’t it? Yes it is, but not universally so. The accepted Thanksgiving traditions and foods may apply to the eastern seaboard and the mid-west, but try to apply that menu to Cajun Country, or better still, Southern California, and they would laugh in your face! What they consider to be tradition is so far removed from the east, as is the west. Obviously.

Whatever meals are planned for this coming Thursday seem to create a strong sense of stress and panic. Have I got this? And that? Will I have time for this? Will they like it? Don’t we have to..? How on earth do you …? And so on.

Over the last two days I’ve seen all of these deep and personal questions expressed, not only on the faces in my local supermarket, but also in the comments overheard. Such as:

So we do yams. What the hell do they look like?
These are raw. How do we get a cooked turkey?
Can someone in his store help me with my list?

I must stress that this sample of comments (and I have a dozen others) do not reflect local people, but those who dare to venture out of their urban environment (let the reader understand.)

Yet even the more balanced and educated members of our community are anxious about the Thanksgiving feast. They ought not to be. A meal prepared with care and served with love ought to be the theme of this extraordinary feast. Without stress. After all, what we endure in the kitchen is hardly the battlefield of survival that early settlers had to suffer. Yet they had hope. Why don’t we?

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