22 Nov 2007

Turkey, n.

A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Incidentally, it is pretty good eating. – Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914)

Last Saturday we had turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy. I made cranberry sauce the way we all like it, with a little fresh ginger, and orange juice, and chopped apple. Mom had brought my favorite turkey day tablecloth from home, and I ironed it and put the extra leaf in the table. Last Saturday, me and Tonia, Mom and Dad, and Zach and my lovely new daughter-in-law, Laura, all sat down to something like Thanksgiving dinner, and at the end of it all there was pumpkin pie.

Today, for the first time in my seven years as an ex-pat, I remembered that it is Thanksgiving Day in the country of my birth. It’s very easy to forget here, without the quiet stillness of a holiday morning to remind you that this day is different from others. Mostly the day completely escapes my notice, until late afternoon, when one or another of my friends on the west coast rings to say, “Happy Thanksgiving.” And then I say, “Happy Thanksgiving back,” and pretend that it means something to me here.

Today I didn’t have to fake it when the calls came. I have carried the glow of last Saturday’s family meal with me all day. Aware that many of the emails I’d send today would likely get out-of-office auto-replies; aware that half-a-world away the entire country of my people were putting the bird in the oven.

I worked today, but a little less hard that I normally would have. It felt like the beginning of a four day weekend for me too. For lunch I ate my traditional “leftover” sandwich of turkey, sliced cold stuffing, cranberry sauce, lettuce and mayo. I counted my blessings, of which there are many, and I felt more a part of this holiday than I have in a long time.

Thank you, sincerely, for all your wonderful comments on the wedding dress, and your congratulations on Zach and Laura’s wedding. My parents left on Sunday, and life is returning to normal at Casa del Cast On. I’ll be dining on sausage and mash tonight, a non-traditional Thanksgiving feast to be sure. But I may sleep later than usual tomorrow morning, it being a holiday weekend and all. And the podcast will return next Friday, 30 November, for which I am truly thankful.

Posted on November 22, in Blog


  1. Lisa wrote:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Brenda! I look forward to the next podcast … I’ve missed you!

    Posted on 11.23.07 ·
  2. Evelyn wrote:

    How do people in Great Britain know when to start their Christmas shopping, without Thanksgiving to remind them? Oh. You mean they don’t turn the entire month before Christmas into one long shopping orgy? Oh. Well then. Your dinner sounds lovely. And good people who knit have to start their Christmas prep long before “Black Friday” and its manic 4 am opening hours. I hope to find a quiet coffee shop with a nice comfy chair and knit on a scarflette for my daughter all day tomorrow, while the commercial whirl spins madly about.

    And I’m looking forward to your next podcast! 🙂

    Posted on 11.23.07 ·
  3. stacy wrote:

    Happy Thanksgiving
    Bet it would be easy to forget, without all the press and shopping to do.
    xoxo Stacy

    Posted on 11.23.07 ·
  4. Mary (turtleknitter) wrote:

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Posted on 11.23.07 ·
  5. Susi wrote:

    Dear Brenda…
    Happy thankgiving to you too…
    Oh, a new pod cast on Friday… I can’t wait….Yippee !!!!!


    Posted on 11.23.07 ·
  6. Bonnee wrote:

    I once did Fourth of July outside the country and it was weird not to have the picnic and sparklers and fireworks blazing around a melody of patriotic songs. So I imagine it must have been nice to have a somewhat traditional dinner with everyone around after so many years. Course, Thanksgiving is more a feeling than a day. All it takes is a turkey surrounded by family and friends and a feeling of goodwill. I’m glad you were able to celebrate and thank you so much for the announcement of a new podcast. Other podcasts are fun, but work just isn’t the same without your soothing voice to keep me entertained. I’m in withdrawal after these long weeks and look forward to the new cast.

    Posted on 11.23.07 ·
  7. Renee wrote:

    Great to hear about an “intentional” Thanksgiving with the family. It is harder to do without the wider culture to reinforce it, so kudos for doing it even after all the wedding excitement.

    And we’ll be so eager for the podcast next week.

    Posted on 11.24.07 ·
  8. Angie wrote:

    In Canada we already celebrated family and turking and thankfulness. But sometimes we cheat and have a second one with our neighbours. I am thankful for Cast-On and the virtual knitting world that has brought wisdom, generosity and surprises into my knitting life.

    Posted on 11.25.07 ·
  9. Jill Smith wrote:

    Thanksgiving Day 1990 found me on a date in a London pub, so I can sympathize. My date, a world-traveler (so he knew from being out of synch due to being out of town), watched in amusement as I made a collect call home and repeated myself a dozen times as I was passed from hand to hand across the ocean.

    A belated happy Thanksgiving to you.

    Posted on 11.27.07 ·
  10. Julia wrote:

    Congrats to you on the dress and Matt and Laura on their nuptuals! I missed the fact that the blog had moved and have been anxiously awaiting the dress update. I have to admit that I thought it might be possible that the dress would be completed the day before the wedding, but I never doubted that it would be complete, fit perfectly, and look beautiful. You are too good of a mom not to come through with flying colors!

    Posted on 11.27.07 ·
  11. Darcie wrote:

    It is so lovely to hear of gratitude that is deeply felt. Happy Thanksgiving.

    P.S. This is such a weird place to say this, but did I used to babysit your kids?

    Posted on 11.28.07 ·
  12. Jenny wrote:

    It sounds like you had such a lovely Thanksgiving!
    It is amazing how the little things ( that one tablecloth) and having your loved ones close by can make the day snap into place emotionally.
    I am glad you had a good time!
    Linger there and enjoy the after-glow!

    Posted on 11.28.07 ·
  13. Kathy wrote:

    h v ing truble typingggggggg. Delirious abbbbbout new podcast. Next Friday, only twoooooo days awayy!!! I must visit BD fan club and emote with those who understand. Hugs, Kathy

    Posted on 11.29.07 ·
  14. ellen wrote:

    Of all holidays I love Thanksgiving the best. No gifts, no expectations except to see someone you love across a table of cooked-with-love food. I’m glad you were able to enjoy a feast with your family.

    Posted on 11.29.07 ·
  15. Kat wrote:

    Glad you enjoyed your Turkey Day!! Even “gladder” that you will be back with a podcast!! 🙂

    Posted on 11.29.07 ·
  16. Leigh Anne wrote:

    WOOHOO!!!! Brenda’s back in town! hmmm… at least her podcast will be back tomorrow! you have been sorely missed!
    hugs & smiles!

    Posted on 11.30.07 ·
  17. Jackie wrote:

    Congratulations on the happy expansion of your family, and the return to the podcast! I’ve missed it, and listening to episodes from the archives is always a treat – but a little strange when the seasons don’t match up (I’ve been catching up on the campfire episodes, but the leaves are falling here and we had our first dusting. Not exactly Smores weather 🙂

    Posted on 11.30.07 ·
  18. Sara in WI wrote:

    It sounds like a wonderful day with your family. Thanksgiving Days don’t have to wait until the 4th Thursday in November. Sometimes it is good to celebrate just to remind ourselves all that we have to be thankful for. And it doesn’t hurt to eat turkey and the trimmings more often, either!
    Sara in WI

    Posted on 12.3.07 ·

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