The Cheapest and Cheerfullest Thanksgiving

Yeah, I missed a table of family and I missed my Wednesday ritual of preparing the pies, the cranberry sauce and blanching brussel sprouts. But, oh, so much to be grateful for, like Rafa Nadal pulling off a tough match against Andy Murray. My father and siblings, my daughter and son-in-law, the roof over my head and a car in the driveway.

It was Cheap and Cheerful because my ex-boss and dear friend Gretchen asked Lou and me over for dinner. Gretchen was a saint when she was my boss, given my unprepared career in the cut throat world of the payroll biz. She helped with me with my failings and promoted my strengths, like training and writing.  We ate, drank, played after dinner games, and it felt like family Thanksgiving. I love young folks and talking to her son Joe about writing code and Darryl’s daughter Jackie about her (literally) astronomical ambitions reassured me once again the the kids are all right. Thanksgiving in the ‘Ville. After dinner we were joined by my friend Jason, another unfortunate ex-boss of mine at Paychex and one of the funniest men I know.

Left to right: Gretchen, Jason, Darryl.

Today was one of those miracle- of- Facebook things: I met my (second) cousin Bill for lunch at a Portillo’s in Schaumburg after a period of, conservatively, forty years. My great-aunt Chi, his grandmother, was an inspiration and role model to me — in fact, my high school literary prize was a story about a trip Chi and I took to Quebec City together when I was fifteen. When I walked up to the restaurant door I saw Bill and we basically fell into each others arms –no reserve, no stiffness — it felt like the big hug we should given each other when we were teen shy teens. Portillo’s was packed —packed, but I swooped on an empty table while the guys waited in line for Italian beef sandwiches. I was hungry, but eating was wedged into chatting and I’m sure I talked with my mouth full.

Bill’s a doll. He’s my long-lost cousin. We’ve hatched a fledgling fam reunion, centered around the family compound in Sauble Beach, Ontario. As Bill said: “I think Chi would be very happy knowing that we’re here together.” Yes, Bill, she’d be thankful.

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2 Comments

Filed under Food, History, Media, The 'Ville

2 responses to “The Cheapest and Cheerfullest Thanksgiving

  1. Family—acquired ones and reunited ones are some of the sweetest of all, sometimes.

    Not much to say tonight, though I’m bursting with tales of our trip—there were twelve of us—DS, here from CA, DD and her family, plus her in-laws, her SIL and BIL and Niece, and Chris and me. And of all the folks there, I was the only one not blood kin to at least one other.

    They’re all my Heart-Kin, and I’m SO thankful for every one. I’m glad we had such wonderfully similar events.

  2. Charlotte

    Had to respond to this! It’s so good to see the two of you together, and I can’t wait for the reunion in Sauble when we can all catch up…even if we talk with our mouths full. So much to be thankful for/cheerful about.

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