Wednesday, November 27, 2013

day before Thanksgiving

It's not unusual for me to take my turkey on the road, so to speak. I've packed turkey racks and meat thermometers and basters and traveled with them to Chicago, even to D.C. in the past. Where there are daughters, there will be Thanksgiving -- is my working slogan.

But there is a catch: if I take the turkey out of the farmhouse, Ed will not follow.
You go be with your girls, he'll tell me.
But they like you and wish you were there too!
Focus on them. You know you miss them...

And so I wake up on this cold cold day...

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...make sure I have everything with me (sprigs of freshly cut rosemary -- check; Wisconsin cheese -- check; Wisconsin cranberries -- check...), have a rushed breakfast with Ed...


...and head for the bus for Chicago.

Of course, I'm not the only one. Living in a university town, you get used to the emptying out that happens around holidays. Kids go home. In all directions they scatter, the faster and earlier the better. Still, the bus is comfortable -- too comfortable in fact. It now has plug outlets and WiFi and I have no excuse not to work on proofing my exams. Three hours later, I am done (with the first proofing -- there will be more of this) and we are pulling into Chicago's airport, where I take the EL to where my girl lives.

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And I walk in on her baking crackers for tomorrow's platter of afternoon foods (hello, cheese from Wisconsin, etc.)!


We have a grocery store outing before us -- and of course, it seems that all eight million Chicagoans are shopping too, but that's okay. The atmosphere is jovial. I claim the big bird -- he's my responsibility, and some things for breakfast. She picks up her ingredients for whatever she and her guy are making and truly, it is as if we were living in the same town again. Shopping together with a daughter is a rare treat.

We take the bus back to her place -- she, me and mr. turkey...

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 -- and I fuss with the bird now, so that it will be at least partially brined and ready for the oven tomorrow.

A few more errands, and stops, and then it's time for dinner. It's the three of us: she, her fiance, me  -- again, these meals are so rare now, that they feel like a holiday when they do finally come to pass. We go to Azzurra, an Italian  place right in their neighborhood. Remember when having an Italian place around the corner was warm and comforting, especially on a blistery November night? It's like that now.


We walk home and talk about who gets the oven when tomorrow, and for how long.

I truly hope that every one of you has a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday. Large or small, turkey or no turkey -- it hardly matters. Stay happy and focused on the one(s) you love.