The entire concept of setting aside one day a year to be grateful for something is ludicrous. Where is it written that we must gather 'round the giblets every time someone does something 'nice', or you feel blessed, or want to express appreciation.
But, sure enough whenever the subject of being thankful comes up, you can bet your cranberry sauce it's November.
And look at what the average family, mostly the female members, do this time of year. They spend weeks planning and days cooking and cleaning. Then, in about a half hour everyone's holding their bellies groaning and too bloated to even get up from the table, much less help with the dishes. The 'wimmenfolk' have polished and scrubbed and vacuumed the house till it shines brighter than the gleeful eyes of the nephew as he finds out exactly how many peas he can shoot at his sister before anyone notices. They've basted, chopped, stirred, stewed, creamed, whipped, baked, and garnished enough food to feed an army. And now they're stuck with KP.
I'm actually mostly thankful that there's only one day a year that I must spend shoving wet bread up a dead bird's ass with my bare hands. That's really not my idea of paying homage you know?
I praise all the powers that be for Stove Top Stuffing®, and low fat jar gravy. And Cool Whip®...Lord love that stuff. I'm so glad to no longer be wiping the walls down when the mixer sends wads of creamy confection out of its whirling vortex just when my back is turned. Whirr...Fwop....Splat! Where would I be without those slick dumplings all flattened and frozen? How about the pie crusts all rolled in little circles just ready to set in the pan? Slap me twice and call me Betty with those little foil strips that keep the crust from burning before the pumpkin pie sets. Instant this and precooked that hold a special place in my heart, right along with open and serve. My 'grip and turn' rubber jar opener is my favorite kitchen utensil.
I'm thankful for paper plates strong enough to hold a feast and not drip on the floor. Kudos to the person who even color coordinated them with matching paper cups and napkins decorated with turkeys and horns of plenty. God bless the carpet cleaners and the way they can suck week old wine stains right out of beige pile in the den to save my sanity in the face of klutzy adults and insane children.
How in heaven's name did our forefathers ever go out and chop the head off a gobbler, pluck it, and get it in the oven in the same day? They ARE born with pop up thermometers in them nowadays right? I worship self basting, I fall to my knees over roasting bags, but most importantly I'm not eating something that was running around in my back yard the day before. I retract that statement. Raise and train a turkey to run in the house and jump in the pan and slice itself, and maybe I can live with that!
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm just tickled pink that things are so much easier now than at the very first dinner. Finding enough free burners and oven space is rough enough without thinking about building and stoking little campfires all over the Plymouth Shores. The first Thanksgiving lasted three days. Three days? That's one little piece of history that was thankfully not parlayed into a family custom at my house.
I'm an pretty darn good cook, but when you're stuck in the kitchen listening to everyone else out in the family room oohing and ahhing over the parade on TV, or whooping it up over a joke you can't hear over the grinding of the food processor, it's hard to be thankful. Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be thankful I've got twenty five people to feed and clean up after. That's what I was put on this earth for.
So, I'm as grateful as can be over convenience that allows me to participate in these times, from the freezer to the can opener and all appliances in between. Mr. Maytag holds an extremely special place in my heart. Praise be to the pot scrubber cycle. Without all these, I'd not have time to enjoy myself, much less give thanks. After all, is it really supposed to be about the food or about the gathering?
There's no more thankful time of the day than when I look around the house as we all meander on to bed, and see everything finally put back in its place. The smell of cinnamon still permeates the air and the lights are dimmed so that I can't see the mud tracks by the door. That's when I can lay myself down on fresh sheets and say my prayers... "Thank you, Oh Lord, for my '365 Ways to Use Leftover Turkey' cookbook..."