Ever since I met my husband twenty years ago, we have spent Thanksgiving with his family. It was already a long-standing tradition with them that I stepped into--hesitantly at first, but then with anticipation as it became my tradition, too. But time has a way of evolving old traditions into new ones and, as my niece and nephews grew up and moved away to start families of their own, the old custom began to lose its shape a bit. Last year, it came to a final end, with each of my husband's siblings moving on to new traditions.
And so it was that we found ourselves unexpectedly on our own for the holiday. After the requisite moping over the situation, it struck us that we were free for the first time to shape our own new tradition. What we ended up with was something I never thought I'd do. It may shock you to hear, but there will be no turkey in my oven this Thursday, nor will I be slaving away in any part of my kitchen.
The cold, hard truth is that we are eating our Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant. So fun! We will be in front of a roaring fire at Cracker Barrel where my kids can have burgers and fries or pancakes and bacon or anything else they desire for Thanksgiving. I won't have to clean, cook, or clean up from cooking. When the meal is over, there is nothing to do but leave a big tip. And remember to pay. That's right, last year we left without paying. Well, we didn't fully leave. My husband thought I had grabbed the check and I thought he had. We were at the car when I asked him how much he tipped our server. At this point the restaurant was very crowded. I went charging through the mob to find our waitress standing by our table with the check crumpled in her hand. What a proud moment that was. How much should you tip someone who is working on Thanksgiving so that you can be decadent and self-indulgent after you leave her to think you were a thieving ingrate? And that's not even going into the piece of pie we left on the roof of our car as we drove away . . .
Clearly our new tradition needs some refining.