Kitchen Garden Writing

Thanksgiving Chili Bowl

Homemade Chili

We discussed plans for Thanksgiving dinner exactly three minutes.

It’s the two of us and we haven’t had chili with cornbread for a long time. We haven’t had an apple crisp this season either, so that will be our Thanksgiving supper along with a bottle of sparkling apple cider.

A person can eat only so many pizzas, bowls of soup, squash, rice and potato dishes in one month.

We don’t use the television much, so no Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, no movies, just us, chez nous with talk and naps. We get a signal from basic cable and have talked about getting a new television to replace the one that displays varying shade of red regardless of channel. The conversation was inconclusive.

People call it a holiday, but this year it’s merely a different day off work as I have to add Saturday to my schedule at the home, farm and auto supply store. A mid-week day of rest anyway… and some overtime pay.

We had a phone call with our daughter during which I was described as “Garrison Keillor-like” while telling a story about the orchard. Don’t know if that’s good or bad and I denied it. I claimed the Minnesota writer was much taller so how could I sound like him? The moniker stuck despite my denial. I’m okay with that.

I started talking about Minnesota where my Polish forebears bought land from the railroad. The only trip I made to the home place was the summer after Grandmother died. I brought back a turtle carved from pipestone for our daughter. She remembered the gift but not the context around it. We likely all have imperfect memories which should encourage us toward humility.

I understand why parents tell their children the same story over and over again. It’s a way of defining shared history. If we are honest, we craft the story to accurately reflect our experience, sanding off rough edges to help it along. Tricksters among us may misrepresent certain aspects of a story to see if listeners catch on. That’s part of the story telling craft, one that reinforces what is shared about our experiences. I believe we can be honest tricksters.

About now people are finishing their holiday feasts and winding down: viewing television, making phone calls, drinking coffee, putting away leftovers, et. al. I plan to read while the chili simmers, then make the apple crisp. It will go into the oven timed so it can be served warm.

Happy Thanksgiving!