Every year, I dread going to "The Barbara's" (my mother, or Smother as I call her) home for Thanksgiving, or having one of those "Ordinary People" moments when she is over here for Thanksgiving.
Last year, we invited her over since it seemed she felt forlorned because neither of my brothers or their wives had invited she and my step-father over for gorging on turkey, etc.
She did what I refer to as a 'drive-by' Thanksgiving. She insisted on making everything, even though we wanted to do it ourselves, and then when they got here, she acted like she wanted to leave 5 minutes after they arrived.
It was making me so nervous that I felt I needed a "Lexapro IV Drip," with IV pole included, to drag around with me, while she fluttered about acting like she couldn't wait to leave.
Actually, it was in such fast motion, it reminded me of the Benny Hill Show, when "Yakety Sax" is played in the background and everything is in fast motion.
I found myself wanting to scream out, like Timothy Hutton did in Ordinary People, "Just take the GD PICTURE!!!"
Let me just say that incident, last year, made me realize that it was time for Susan and I to have our own Thanksgiving traditions.
This year, we joined a new church--Trinity UMC in Atlanta--and they have a women and children's shelter, for women who are in transition and need a place to stay until they can get back on their feet.
Weeks ago our church emailed saying that they needed a Thanksgiving Day meal to be prepared for the women in the shelter. It was a no-brainer, this year, for Susan and I to not only volunteer to cook, but to actually serve the women there as well.
Let me tell you that this was the first stress-free Thanksgiving I've had in years.
We had so much fun cooking for the women. I made Paula Deen's flat-line inducing mashed potatoes (God Bless you Paula Deen from one chubby chick to another!), with heavy cream, sour cream, butter, butter, butter, shallots, crumbled bacon....you get the picture.
Susan made her fabulous collard greens and the other members of our small congregation graciously stepped up to the plate and added the turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese.
When we got there early, the ladies were ready to eat! It was fantastic. We both enjoyed being able to serve them a hearty Thanksgiving feast, and when we sat down with them, we had the best time. These ladies are in a hard space, but they all had such sweet spirits about them.
Over and over, each woman came to us, hugged us and said "Thank you...you are angels," over and over. As Susan can attest to, I am certainly no angel, and this was the least we could do (I felt anyway). I told them, "Well, you are angels yourselves. We have enjoyed meeting all of you very much."
To the surprise of the ladies, and the woman that runs the program at Trinity, we cleaned up after the meal. Dishes, etc. They kept trying to help and we kept saying, "No, this is your day to relax, so Happy Thanksgiving."
Hands down, it was the best Thanksgiving I've had in ages. Susan said it was for her too. They are a great group of ladies down there, and I look forward to volunteering more often down there.
We've decided that this will be our new "tradition" at Thanksgiving. It actually felt good not to feel so bloated after eating too much, as we often do when we go to my mom's or to friends to eat.
It just felt good focusing on other people, instead of gorging and falling asleep.
I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading this blog, and I hope the coming year brings peace, happiness and health to you all.