24 November 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

A two turkey Thanksgiving, and so I think that calls for an extra bottle or two of wine. Once every year—always on Thanksgiving—I eat flesh with great gusto and even considerable pleasure. And at the end of the meal I am satiated for the year and have no urge to indulge in meat again. I think were the turkey (in this case, two turkeys) not on the table, I would be content with a vegetarian Thanksgiving repast (indeed, I hosted in Thanksgivings past alternative Thanksgivings that were wholly vegetarian), but since the cats are in the cradle and the birds lie on the table, I energetically indulge. Next Yom Kippur I will atone for the sin of gluttony.

For my entire life, Thanksgiving has been the first moment since September when it is possible to stop and breathe. Well, the Jewish holidays serve as some respite in the Fall, but outside the shul the race remains at full trot. In academia, where I have spent my life, Thanksgiving is the first real pause in the action; and the holiday portends the end of the academic term, the beginning of final exams and the sweat over final papers, and then the absolute cessation that is Winter Break. Thanksgiving is the taste of peace.

So we’ve got two turkeys because we’ve got three families., and the extra wine for our astonishing cheer. We will engage in conversations we’ve saved for this table expressly, and share some of our hopes for the year ahead. And then we’ll watch a movie, The Lion in Winter, while the dishes soak lazily in the sink and before I head blissfully to my trytophanic slumber.

I have always liked Thanksgiving despite the history it obscures.


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