Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year. I love Thanksgiving. I love getting up on the early side and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I always get a little teary when the Rockettes show up because that was my dad's favorite part of the parade. Every time I see them move into the kick line, I can hear my dad's delighted exclamations (the man was a sucker for a good kick line) and I'm reminded how much I miss the old man. I love seeing the performances from Broadway shows.
At some point during the morning, I drive down to the convenience store and grab the Thanksgiving day paper and some donuts so that we can pore over the Black Friday sales and strategize where we might go the next day. (Yes, I DO brave the crowds. It's like the frickin' Super Bowl!! You just need to have a clear agenda and pursue that agenda with confidence and aggression)
Best of all, I love preparing the Thanksgiving feast. I love to cook. LOVE IT. I love the feeling of making a delicious meal and sharing it with others. Thanksgiving is the high holiday for people who love to cook. I've spent weeks pondering and planning the menu, taking requests, tweaking last year's menu here and there. My mashed potatoes are amazing. My sister loves this cornbread/cheese/corn casserole I make. I love my homemade mushroom stuffing. The only thing I wimp out on is dessert. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to tackle pie crust (I know it's a real art) and by the time I make everything else, I'm a little too tired to then move onto pies or cakes or whatever else. I let the nice folks at the Hy-Vee bakery handle dessert for me this year. Maybe at Christmas, when my cooking is a little less ambitious, I'll make a great dessert.
Of course, the real purpose of tomorrow is not about parades and shopping and cooking. It's about giving thanks. I think often about the pilgrims who inspired this holiday and what they had to endure as they set up their homes in this strange new land. Their courage and perserverence paved the way for countless generations of immigrants to come here and make this their home -- and eventually our home. I am descended from those first pilgrims (from John and Priscilla Alden) as well as Irish immigrants who fled famine and Swedish immigrants looking for a better life. I am thankful for their courage and sacrifice that ultimately gave me a pretty decent life. I'm thankful for the friends who sustain me with their love and humor. I'm thankful for a career that challenges and fulfills me and allows me to make the world a better place each day in my own small way. I'm thankful for the creative outlet theatre has provided. And I'm thankful for the chance to share my meaningless little ramblings with all of you.
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!