In the early hours on holidays I often think back to other holidays. All of the Thanksgivings in the farmhouse, for example, with my mother up late the night before grinding the cranberries by hand and peeling sweet potatoes, then up before the rest of us to prepare the turkey and get it into the oven. This morning the farmhouse sits empty and cold. Is there any memory left in its bones of that long string of Thanksgiving celebrations––stretching back into the 1870s?
I think of the women who toiled in that kitchen––my mother, my grandmother, my great-aunt, and before them there were several tenant farmer wives––all no doubt anxious about how things would come together. All of them did everything over a wood stove for part of their lives.
Here’s a toast to them, and to modern ways. I love my Cuisinart which pulses cranberries in just a few seconds. And I love not having to kindle a fire in a wood stove. I like to remember and honor the old ways, but I don’t want to go back to them. There may never be another Thanksgiving in the old house. That’s okay. There’s been a good long run.