Oh why, oh why is it so psychologically impossible to turn down that second helping of homemade mac 'n' cheese or politely decline a slice of pumpkin pie the size of a baby's head? Why must we close businesses and cook enough potato dishes to supply a Mormon funeral, only to end up slouched in our chairs in a bloated stupor, staring in sheer wonder at the ruin that replaced the kitchen? I know this holiday is supposed to leave us with warm feelings of familiarity and well-being, but the excess is as much as tradition of this holiday as anything. I'm as wrapped up in it as anyone ... I, too, feel all the more thankful for my existence with a 20-pound turkey in the oven and more pies than people at the table. But the aftermath is absolute, it leaves that final impression, and it always leaves me feeling more overstuffed than overjoyed. I guess I'm just experiencing some post-Thanksgiving remorse, maybe a little hint of tryptophan hangover.
We're up in Palmer right now, the north country, celebrating the holiday with other childless 20-something couples that are thousands of miles from Outside families. It was a lot of fun. We spent the morning cross-country skiing in the veritable winter wonderland that took the city by storm (which, while we were motoring up the Seward Highway last night, was to our sheer dismay.) But the "White Thanksgiving" was a nice touch. So was the diverse group of friends Craig invited ... including, respectively, a Jewish couple, a Muslim, two Mormons and a Buddhist, who unfortunately was caught in the weather and was not able to attend. But a great group. We even whipped out the Texas Hold'em as the turkey cooked and cooked, and continued to cook for more than six hours. I mean, we even had the canned cranberry sauce that I love so much, sliced in gelatinous discs and still bearing the artful mold of the inside of the can. Sigh. I guess I am thankful for this holiday, even if I do feel like a gelatinous blob myself, and even if I do have to be thousands of miles from my family and snowed in - in Palmer. I could use this space to ramble through "things I'm thankful for," but it seems so much less redundant to just say "life."