REVELATIONS: Feeling thankful

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

Nov. 23, 2012 at 5:23 a.m.

ATLANTA - I'm feeling especially thankful this week.

Two years have passed since I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. And this season I was able to join them in Atlanta and be a part of the holiday in person, rather than on the phone or via Skype.

It's a silly thing, I suppose, to get as excited as I do about going home for the holidays.

I know there are many folks who can't be home for Thanksgiving, or choose not to be for any number of reasons.

But for me, there is something special and comforting about being home, among family, and congregating at the dinner table to give thanks with my loved ones.

And this year, I was excited to learn there are several scrumptious Thanksgiving extras.

One of my best girlfriends recently moved to Atlanta, so she'll be spending the holiday with me and my family all week. And my Jewish family (who basically helped raise me) decided to travel from Chicago and Tennessee so we can all break bread together - just like we did growing up.

And between the two families, and all the generations of women vying for a spot behind my mother's stovetop, I'm thinking this will be a memorable Turkey Day.

In case you didn't know, Southern and Jewish Mothers are one in the same. They love to cook; they love to feed, and they love to do it their way.

So I'm especially looking forward to watching all these matriarch women battle for counter and oven space, and decide whose recipes will be spotlighted on the dinner table.

If there's ever a day I would want to video these women interacting, this would be it. I'm thinking, "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and an episode of the "Paula Deen's Home Cooking" that's been spoofed on "Saturday Night Live."

Are you picturing it?

For the past few weeks, Mom has continuously asked me if I plan to help cook on Thanksgiving.

"All the women will be cooking. Don't you want to help, Jenny?"

"Sure," I respond, knowing once I darken the kitchen tiles on Thursday, I'll be commanded to fetch some onions and bread crumbs from the pantry and expected to get out of the way.

It's Mom's annual Thanksgiving spectacle of self-martyring for the purposes of sustaining all the dinnertime "ooooohhhs" and "ahhhhhs." For Mom, it's an achievement of self, as much as it is an achievement of food. And who can blame her? She's good at what she does, and it makes her feel even more like a mother, somehow.

But this year should be interesting because she'll have to share her kitchen with other women who are equally prepared to pull off a grand menu. I know I'll have at least one good Thanksgiving cooking story to bring home with me by the end of the week.

As I traveled home to Atlanta this week, I started thinking about how lucky I am to have so many people in my life who I love and care about - who love and care for me also.

As I get older, I realize how special these relationships are, and how important it is to take advantage of my moments with them. On the surface, they're moments of family and food. But they're also life moments and memories that I'll carry with me for the rest of my years. They're the stuffing in the turkey. They're the pumpkin in the pie.

Maybe for some, Thanksgiving is a day of stress, fatigue, and forced family fun. But I'm grateful I'm required at least one day a year, to give thanks to God for family and food because I don't know how often I'd go out of my way like I do for Thanksgiving if this holiday wasn't written into our legislation.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but the other months of the year, I just don't think about what I'm thankful for as often, or think about traveling cross country to eat and spend time with family. There has to be a good reason to go home.

And that's what Thanksgiving provides for all of us. It allows us at least one day of the year to reflect on what we're truly thankful for, and provides a good reason to go home and offer thanks to God for his yearly provision.

I pray you have a Happy Thanksgiving, and take a moment to feel thankful for all those scrumptious Thanksgiving extras.

Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss



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