There are turkey-eating festivities in the VSC house today, thanks to two heaping boxes of produce and canned goods one of the girls brought home from work. A couple volunteers' families came in for the occasion, and Sr. Rosalind accepted our dinner invite at the last minute. Jessica called me in a panic this morning for advice on GF/dairy free Thanksgiving cuisine for our favorite nun. Smart girls, she and Kristina had already thought to use my GF baking mix instead of flour to coat the bird's oven bag. I told them to raid my dairy-free margerine in the freezer and to heat up some green beans sans mushroom soup.
I'm a little sad to miss Sr. Ros' first visit to our home, but I happily trade it for quality time with my many relatives in Chicago. The Windy City has always held a sort of Motherland mystique for me, since my parents grew up here and most of their families remain in the area. How appropriate, since Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate heritage, no matter how selective or mythical that shared national memory may be. (The first Thanksgiving was technically in Virginia, but whatever. Construction paper Pilgrim hats are still fun.)
Being in Chicago reminds me that I'm part of a larger family tradition. Aunts marvel over how I resemble my father. My cousins observe that I twirl my hair just like them. My Grandmum chats for hours over the kitchen table, and suddenly I realize where my mom got that habit. Tomorrow we're going to make Grandma Cookies, the secret, labor intensive biscotti recipe from a distant Italian matriarch in my dad's family. I was glad that my own Grandma waxed nostalgic about our immigrant forbears over dinner. Little cousin Greg got squirmy, but maybe one day he'll appreciate the rare chance to hear how we got to sit here in a comfy suburb pigging out on sweet potatoes and turkey gravy. Those milk-delivering Italians and garment sewing Russian Jews would be pleased to see that their descendants have college educations and pumpkin pie readily available.