“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
I have yet to recover from Thanksgiving. Forget for a moment that I don’t eat poultry or meat. There’s still stuffing, cranberry sauce and all the veggie side dishes. I’ve never gone hungry on the fourth Thursday in November.
I woke up at the civilized hour of 9:30, but my daughter was still asleep. She wanted to make pumpkin pie, but hated making pie crust, so I had taken care of that the night before and stuck it in the fridge. I rolled out the dough, gently pressing it into the pie dish, and put it in the freezer to chill for a half hour before pre-baking it.
Next, I rolled out a disk of pastry for the bottom of the cherry tart I was making, and a second disk that I sliced into strips and wove into a lattice top on a sheet of parchment paper.
While the cherry tart shell and lattice top were chilling, I opened three bottles of Trader Joe’s Morello cherries and tossed them with cornstarch, sugar and almond extract. I poured the filling into the tart shell, then flipped the pre-made lattice top over it, securing the whole thing with a few pinches here and there. With a flourish, I topped the lattice with a sprinkling of raw turbinado sugar. Voilá!
It was all going so smoothly.
The cranberry sauce with Satsuma tangerines I made the night before had gelled nicely. At noon, my daughter started her pumpkin pie, and by 2:00 pm everything was out of the oven and cooling.
We were scheduled for Thanksgiving dinner at 4:00 pm with my friend Nancy and her family, and her across-the-street-neighbors, Cynthia and Perry. As I was getting dressed, my daughter went to load the car up with the pies, cranberry sauce, sparkling apple cider and a bottle of Nouveau Beaujolais.
She came back sooner than expected.
“Something’s, wrong.” she said. “The car won’t open.”
Uh-oh. Did we leave something on after driving back home from the airport?
Fortunately, she discovered there is a little key tucked away inside the Prius’ Smart Key. Hey, I never knew that! Unfortunately, the car still wouldn’t start.
After calling our dinner hosts to forewarn them of our impending tardiness, we had a few options.
Call the neighbor for a jump start? No answer. Move on the Plan B.
Use the Chevy Blazer that my neighbors were storing here for two months while they were in New York? Hmmm. The brakes seemed a little dicey for the downhill s-curves. Plan C?
“Let’s use Papa’s car!” says my girl, bright-eyed at the prospect of driving someone else’s car. “He said I should use it while I’m visiting so the battery doesn’t go dead. We can drive the Blazer over to his house, and I can get the keys. We can pick the Blazer up on our way back home.” Seems like a plausible scheme.
Next thing I know, I’m standing down on the street in front of my beloved X’s house, while my beloved daughter is inside, setting off the mind-scrambling alarm. I wait patiently by the Blazer, shrugging and smiling at passersby. No one thinks anything of it. After 15 minutes, the alarm shuts off. Phew!
Then, it goes on again. I walk up to the house, thinking I’m oh-so-smart: open the circuit breaker box and shut off the electricity to the house. I actually have my fingers on the switch when I think better of it.
I walk around to the front door and hear my baby girl sobbing. I peer into the window and see she is on the phone. She waves me off, and the alarm shuts off, again.
Apparently she had the wrong code.
We finally arrived for dinner 2 hours late. Everyone had already eaten, and the food was cold, but our nerves were intact, thanks to tranquil music on the iPod as my daughter drove. The situation could have been a lot worse. We were together in the presence of good friends. We’re healthy. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty dang good.
Being in a permanent state of gratitude definitely has its advantages.