Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Orange County: Part 3 (Thanksgiving)

Fresh produce from Leo's garden ready for the thanksgiving kitchen

Around 8:00 in the morning, Leo and I rose and headed to his mom and dad’s elegant seaside home in Dana Point to help with preparations for Thanksgiving dinner. I was excited to learn that there would be no fewer than fourteen people present that day for Thanksgiving. As I chatted with Leo’s sister, Kira and brother-in-law, Mike, who had arrived before us from New York, along came his other sister, Meredith with her girlfriend, Hayley and Hayley’s mom, dad, and brother.

From left to right: Kira, Mike, Seth's mom, Seth

The more people arrived, the more people arrived, the more I felt positively charmed. There was Teresa, a long-time family friend from Argentina, Seth, a long-time friend of Mike and Seth’s mom who was here from Maryland via Colorado where she had recently visited her daughter. Together, everyone passed the afternoon, alternately lounging on the patio or in living room, or busied themselves in the kitchen, preparing vegetables and readying things for the oven.

Marilyn (Hayley's mom), Leo, Maureen

At least the time arrived for the feast. It was a meal fit for a king. Turkey, sweet potatoes, fresh beats and greens from Leo’s garden, green beans, stuffing, potatoes and gravy; everything was there. As we dined, everyone shared a single word that described what he or she was thankful for. When my turn arrived there was no hesitation; my word was “hospitality”. A highlight of the evening came when Hayley’s brother, Ross was given a blind taste-test of the various cranberry sauces prepared for the occasion. Ross was an interesting guy. Having been working for a gang unit with the LAPD, he had some rather alarming footage and photographs which he shared on his phone.

Thanksgiving dinner

After dinner we retired to the living room to observe that other most sacred of Thanksgiving traditions; vegetating in front of the TV and casually milling about, grazing on the ample leftovers while our numbers slowly dwindled. As we took in the various Thanksgiving programs on TV, I was amused by Teresa’s compunction to remark that one person or another was a “son of a gun”. When the time for me and Leo to go home, I was sincerely sad that it was over. Definitely a Thanksgiving to remember.

Meredith and Teresa