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I’m so full.

Yeah, yeah, I know I should finish that by saying “of gratitude” or something and I am, but really I’m full of Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes and green beans and rolls. I’m not a “spend your calories on a roll at Thanksgiving” kind of gal but these ones just looked so good. In fact, thinking about them is making my mouth water. Why didn’t I pack one in our to-go container?

Anyway, I digress.

The internet today is full of gratitude and I love seeing that so many people I know and love have much to be thankful for. And I’m thinking of those who maybe could use a few more things to be appreciative of. The Thanksgiving I grew up on consisted of my mom working for a week straight preparing the feast. She did it all– every appetizer, every side, every dessert, and of course the turkey. And I’m not talking “here’s a plate of cubed cheese and some Ritz crackers.” My mom had a string of food delights parading out of the kitchen starting at 1PM until the last pant button was popped and the relatives all went home.

But it wasn’t just relatives. My mom always looked for those who didn’t have a place to go. Maybe their families were far away or their car broke down and they couldn’t get out of town. Maybe this was their first holiday post-divorce and they were planning on having dinner at the always-open Chinese buffet (which was never a bad choice. Never.) You never knew who you were going to sit next to at Thanksgiving or if they’d be there next year. I loved this. Only I didn’t know it then. But it’s a tradition I carried on in my adult life.

My friend Anna posted a note on my Facebook page tonight. She wrote, “I was thinking about one of the years that the orphan thanksgiving was at your place. And you made that crazy dip of peanut butter, ketchup, and onions.

Funny because I was thinking about her and those early Thanksgivings in Seattle. I loved that Thanksgiving. A collection of rag-tag 20-somethings living in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. We had the nights off from our bartending and telemarketing and retail (this was before Black Friday started on Thursday) jobs to come together and have a big, fancy adult meal. Yeah, we were adults, but it’s hard to remember us that way. I mean, I was probably making $6.00/hour. My friend Dan and I had a tradition of going out the night before and drinking way too much. Dan also wrote to me wishing me a “happy drink so much the night before you’ll spend Thanksgiving doing nothing but cutting grapes.”

I’m sad for the turkeys but I can’t help it. I love Thanksgiving.

And that dip Anna mentioned! I totally forgot about that dip! I probably still have it written down somewhere even though it was only 3 ingredients. Under no circumstances should that dip be edible and yet it was oddly delicious. I’m throwing up a little in my mouth right now thinking about it though.

I hope wherever you were tonight and whomever was around your table made you feel happy and full and reflective upon all that you have to be grateful for.

Shelly Mazzanoble

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