Thanksgiving often coincides with winter weather here. On Thursday, we all descended upon my mother’s house for the traditional Thanksgiving meal, followed by pumpkin pie and apple pie. The rest of the week, we’ve been mostly just hanging out in front of the fire. I love it when my kids and extras are home. My daughter’s boyfriend, Sailor Boy, made us all breakfast one morning — or perhaps brunch would be a better word since we ate mid-day. Shy Smile made two big pots of soup. California Girl brought pastries that her mother had sent her from the west coast. We’ve spent the days mostly just talking and eating.
Every once in a while one of us will say, “I need to get some work done,” and take out a laptop, but that surge of energy doesn’t last long.
“It’s the fire,” said Boy-in-Black, who was lounging on the couch between his girlfriend and his brother. “It sucks all the energy out of the room.”
Last night, we all went over to Sailor Boy’s parents’ house, just a couple of miles away, to join them for a tradition his family has kept for more than 50 years, the annual cookie-decorating party. Their house is on a long driveway that curves through snow-covered pine trees. When I came in the door, stamping the snow off my boots, I was greeted by the smell of mulled cider and spaghetti sauce. “Come have something to eat,” Sailor Boy’s mother said.
My daughter, Sailor Boy, and Pirate Boy had spent the afternoon making hundreds of cut-out sugar cookies. The aunts and grandparents who arrived brought more. Pirate Boy mixed up bowls of icing, and we gathered to frost the cookies and decorate them with bright-colored sprinkles. It’s fun to watch people’s different approaches to icing cookies. Shy Smile is the artist of the group, and her cookies were lovely, with details and carefully chosen colors. Boy-in-Black, on the other hand, kept just slapping on icing and cramming them into the sprinkles so that they looked like something a two-year-old would make. The sports fans of the group frosted just a few cookies before disappearing into the other room to watch a football game, but the rest of us persisted until we had filled a long table with hundreds of cookies.
It's official. The holiday season has begun.