I love cranberry sauce. But I never eat it more than once a year and you guessed it, at Thanksgiving. In our family tradition, I’m the guy who makes the cranberry sauce and how I look forward to those little bursts of the red berries as they boil and putting it out on the deck to cool and checking in to see how it congeals.
So when my daughter hosted this year and said she would make it, I was a little put out. Of course, it’s the simplest recipe in the world, there was no fear that she would ruin it and it felt like some inevitable passing of the baton to the next generation, so why not? But when we arrived at her house (outdoors, of course) and the dishes started coming out, cranberry sauce was not amongst them. Apparently, she had changed her mind, put it on my list of what to bring in a somewhat long e-mail and never alerted me otherwise. I hadn’t read the whole e-mail and so the unthinkable had happened— a Thanksgiving meal without cranberry sauce!
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is precisely what any teaching worth its salt teaches— be open to outcome, but not attached to outcome. By all means, make plans but be prepared to change them. Decide what is essential and ready to let go the rest.
And so I ate my first Thanksgiving meal without my beloved cranberry sauce.
And it was delicious.