I don’t really think of Thanksgiving as a holiday. Not a real one anyway. It’s like Halloween or Valentine’s Day, something you celebrate but don’t exactly know why. Something that happens but you can’t really explain. Something that doesn’t affect you one way or the other. As a Chicana, I have a weird relationship with Thanksgiving. It’s not really part of my history, but it is part of the history of the country I call mine. So, while I acknowledge and appreciate the horrors that founded this country and the irony of calling the day “Giving Thanks,” I do still celebrate it. And that’s more due to the party aspect of it than to the original idea of the holiday.
Thanksgiving is the one day a year when it’s mandatory to eat more than is socially acceptable. Food becomes the center stage, the star of the day. Families gather for a feast. And everyone tries to outdo everyone else when sitting to go through what’s on his/her plate.
My mother has made turkey on Thanksgiving every year except one. That year she spent the day — the entire week before and after, as a matter of fact — waiting around a hospital room in the Texas Valley. My grandfather had had a stroke and she was visiting him. I made dinner that year. And let me tell you, it’s a whole hell of a lot of work. Ever since then my sisters and I have made all the side dishes and desserts while my mother makes the turkey. We thought it was only fair.
A friend of mine says that her mother hates to make a turkey. She always ends up with a dry bird. Now she makes turkey tamales and that’s what they have every year. That’s not a bad compromise.
Before I go on and on and on with my rambling about who does what on this day, let me just wish all of you a happy holiday. Don’t eat too much, don’t spend all day watching sports, and don’t drink and drive. As long as you do that and try to stop yourself from killing your family you should be fine.
Hasta la prÃ³xima, gente!