In my family, the one traditional dish served every year is roast beef with egg noodles, gravy and cracker crumbs. I can't tell you how this came to be a family dish, but I've grown up with it and that's just how we roll. There's turkey, of course, and often ham. Side dishes aplenty, though carrots are probably the most consistent (often prepared with the roast beef). I just finished a plate of that, actually--sans carrots, of course. I missed dinner with my family earlier, actually, but it's okay with them. I was with my friends tonight and had one of the most enjoyable Thanksgivings in my entire life and that is not hyperbole.
The spread was terrific, but even if it had been paltry and mediocre, the company alone would have ensured that I would have left feeling quite good. I've noted in recent posts how great my friends have been about rallying around me through this difficult time and tonight was one more example. We joked from the time I arrived until the time I left (from roughly 2:00 until 10:00). After eating, most of the guests departed for other activities--some to work, some to other gatherings, etc.--leaving our hosts, two friends and myself. The five of us decided to play Trivial Pursuit, sitting on the floor. Every card yielded to some manner of humor. I don't think we had a single question and answer pass without causing us to laugh. At one point, I laughed so hard that my right foot began to cramp!
As I look back on my year with depression, I am most shamed that I allowed that poison to insulate me from the terrific people I have surrounded myself with over the years. Every one of them has earned their stripes, and I felt a pang of guilt today thinking that I had cheated myself out of their company for so long. That yielded quickly, however, to gratitude that I have reasserted myself over my depression and that I was able to share such a lighthearted, satisfying day with them today. I may have squandered an entire year, but I did not succumb to my suicidal urges and I am here now to have played Trivial Pursuit and turned FDR into a punch line. If that's not the true spirit of this holiday, then I am incapable of grasping it.
So my sincere thanks go to my friends--including those who were absent today--for continuing to humble me with their kindness, amusing me with their bawdy sense of humor and inspiring me with their nobility.