Each holiday comes as a bookmark in the pages of the year and I always enjoy taking a moment to remember where I was at other times. Amidst 63 Thanksgivings, a few stand out:
1969— Brooklyn with my girlfriend Lynne Lerner’s family and friends that included authors Marge Piercy and Sol Yurick. Marge Piercy later became quite famous!
1972—Antioch College where I first heard a recording of Scott Joplin’s music that sent me down the path of jazz piano. That was the Nonesuch Joshua Rifkin recording.
1974—Downey St., San Francisco, where my brother-in-law cooked a macrobiotic pumpkin pie with no sugar. All of us pretending that it was an improvement and secretly yearning for the old tradition. (He never made it again.)
1976—Castro St., SF, hosting the event with wife-to-be Karen and some twenty friends who weren’t going home to their parents for the holiday. That sense of creating our own new, extended family.
1978—Athens, Greece in the midst of a year trip around the world with Karen. We ate a feta cheese salad and decided not to risk our lives crossing Iran in the midst of a revolution and to fly to India instead. (Good choice.)
1983— Second Ave., SF, with my sister Ginny going into labor on our couch while we were basting the turkey. Nephew Ian born soon after. Ginny missed the pumpkin pie.
1984—Calistoga with Karen’s water breaking right after Thanksgiving dinner. Daughter Talia born soon after. (One day after Ian’s birthday.)
1993—Sebastopol at my sister’s house, with my parents newly moved from New Jersey and the full extended family. And that was it for the next 15 plus years, alternating between Sebastopol and San Francisco.
2012— Washington, DC at my daughter Kerala’s house with husband Ronnie and first Thanksgiving with granddaughter Zadie. A new chapter.
(I wonder if anyone has ever put together a book collecting memorable Thanksgiving stories. Everyone has one, yes?)
So on a rainy day in Portland, Oregon, Zadie in the bath, Ronnie, his Dad and son Alijah taking a drive to the Columbia Gorge, me about to get to work on my incredible cranberry sauce recipe (water, sugar, cranberries— done!), time to turn my attention to the here and now, having enjoyed my little excursion down Memory Lane. Good to try to remember all who I’ve shared the table with, though some names and even faces elude me. But imagining them joining us today. Blessings to all.