HomecomingThanksgiving this year was spent by the sea. My sister, Lisa, hosted in Asbury Park. It was a small affair since most of my siblings were with their in-laws. The weather was freakishly warm. We enjoyed wine and cheese on the front porch before dinner. Everything was perfect–in a Martha Stewart-y kind of way. This is ironic because Lisa isn’t exactly the Martha Stewart type, although she’s an excellent cook and even brined the turkey which is all the rage on the cooking shows this year, including Martha's. (So much safer than that deep-frying fad of a few years ago.) I made the apple pie and did the flowers for the table. I am the Martha Stewart type. So is my mother. But not in a controlling, obsessive way. In a make-your-own-pie-crust way. I, on the other hand, can be a little controlling and obsessive, but I’m working on it. ("Hello, my name is Michael and I’m a Martha Stewart junkie.")
All in all, it was a wonderful day. My sister may well have inherited future Thanksgiving duties with this performance, something my mother is all too happy to give up knowing it has passed into to capable hands.
The next day, fat from Thanksgiving dinner, I attended my 20th high school reunion. Sparing Scott the agony of such an event, I went with my friend Cara who I’ve been in close contact with since grade school. She was my Homecoming date Junior year, too. We also went to college together. I did the flowers for her wedding. You get the idea. We were invited by another friend, Andy, who I keep in touch with as well, for a glass of wine at his place before the big event. I needed it, too. I was a nervous wreck for some reason.
As is the case at these reunions, by and large the girls looked better than the boys. Not that I was judging or anything. It was fun and overwhelming all at the same time. It was interesting to look around the room at a sea of virtual strangers to see the occasional classmate who looks unchanged from high school. (Sons of bitches!) Thank God for friends like Cynthia who provided a familiar face and a break from the overwhelming intake of catching up with people’s lives over the last 20 years. I am always struck at things like this, and at smaller, impromptu college reunions, that there are certain people, like Stacey, who you haven’t seen in years but can pick up a conversation with as if no time had passed at all. The evening flew by. At midnight it felt as if we’d just arrived. There were still so many people left to talk to.
These two days provided a great deal of perspective for me to reflect and give thanks. I’m thankful for a wonderful family whom I wouldn’t dream of spending holidays away from. For parents who can sit at the dinner table with me and my boyfriend and my sister and her partner and feel proud and happy at the adults we have become. I’m thankful for friendships that go back 20, even 30 years that are still part of my life. I’m thankful for the people whose lives touched mine long ago who I will always remember fondly and who remember me the same way. Most of all, I’m thankful for the good health to enjoy it all.
Reunion pictures: Andy and Cynthia
Me, Cara and Stacey