Monday, December 8, 2008

You Really Ought to Try Orphan Thanksgiving

In a previous post I described my family Thanksgiving...traditionally celebrated with our clan either the weekend before or after the actual Turkey Day, in order to accommodate "the other" side of the family. Well, seeing as how I have no "other" side of the family, I have taken this opportunity in mulitple years to both host my own Friend Thanksgiving...and also to orphan myself out to various friends' Thanksigivings. Sometimes I travel to exotic places too...but that is only when my friends are making the big bucks and fly me places because I am poor and cannot afford exotic vacations without such a windfall.

This year I orphaned myself. Keri graciously adopted me. T was off in Cali puking his guts out, so I was also orphaned AND flying solo for a few days. I arrived in Indy with nothing more than a small backpack of my belongings and two bottles of wine. Keri first loaded me into the car and drove me straight past the winery (damn!) and to one of the loveliest farms I've ever seen. It happens to be her Grandma's century farm just outside of Indianola.

The farm is situated among rolling hills and is pristine and has the original 100 year old house, barn, and a few outbuildings. The last time I was there I was struck not only by the beauty of the place but by the was like Rome, there were so many cats. Cats falling from the rafters in the barns, cats under the leaves of hostas, cats under the house, cats in the basement, cats...everywhere. And I am not a fan of cats. But this time, all but a few of the cats had moved onward (and I am guessing upward), and I was taken by the shiny new Field of Dreams-esque tennis court and the table decorations. I will get to that.

Once our outdoor century farm tour was complete, safely in the house, I found a feast fit for nearly 30 people. Except there were only 7 of us. Such is eating around these parts. Just a few minutes earlier as we strolled around her mom's newly constructed tennis and basketball and volleyball courts, we lamented at how nice it would be to go outside and shoot baskets after gorging ourselves. Except we never did.

I suspect the sleep apnea (which is another post for another day) we suffer from got the best of our short term memories and we forgot. We did, however, stick around long enough to pack up some leftovers (of course!) and I snapped a picture of these precious little Iowa inspired decorations, which were the centerpiece on her 92 year old (or is it 95??) Grandma's table:

It has been a really long time since I have seen a phallic corn stalk with braids and googley eyes. Needless to say, being the corn fed Iowa gal that I am, I was impressed. I was also impressed with the pipe cleaner turkeys. I mean, who knew that you could shove a few pipe cleaners into a pine cone and create your very own turkey?

Keri's Grandma told me she made all these treasures "years ago" which given her 90-some years, is pretty likely before pipe cleaners were even invented. She called the pipe cleaners something hilariously other than pipe cleaners ...but I'll be damned if I can remember what it was, so I probably just should have left that part out. Again, the apnea.

Those turkeys were active little buggers--they ran right out of this arrangement and situated themselves all around Ben's plate for the duration of our meal, much to her sweet Grandmother's dismay...or maybe it was delight. I couldn't tell, being that I've only met her twice. There is something about 'ole Benny that all the mom's like I am sure the turkeys just gravitated there because they liked him.

After we washed dishes and drank up the last of her mom's wine, we ventured off Ben's family Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I was too caught up in the pie and the wine and the epic battle of Trivial Pursuit to remember to snap any pictures, but if I had, I am not sure it would have been appropriate to photograph our yelling and cheating our way through a four hour Thanksgiving Trivial Pursuit battle.

I bet you are suprised to know that the most world beauty pageant contestants come from Venezula out of ALL South American countries! In the end I am not even sure who won, but there was a lot of hooting and hollering and laughing in between the first and last questions. And there was also some cheating and throwing of pie shaped game pieces and some dancing and laughing and more laughing. Good times.

Then the next morning after we all stuffed ourselves with pancakes and eggs, we threw around footballs and ventured off in our pajamas and clogs to the batting cages to take some cuts. It has been 15 long years since I have hit softballs off a machine and I nearly had a heart attack and died. Afterwords, muscles ached that I am fairly certain had previously not seen use in 15 years, my hands were bleeding ...but holy moly, it was FUN and one helluva rush to hit the dogshit out of a few balls again.

I sure hope I get to be an orphan again soon. I am thankful for each of my three turkey days and for all the people that made them possible.

And I am especially thankful for each of the women who spearheaded the food making for these days, as having done it before myself, I know creating an atmosphere and also a meal of this caliber is a whole shitload of work and it is always, always done in a lickety-split sort of fashion that is somewhat of a letdown after so much preparation/work.

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