I'm not a mom, but when I am, I will be the kind children roll their eyes at. Thanksgiving, objectively, is the best holiday ever invented. It's not just the gluttony of gravy, the four-day weekend, or the smoky fireplace smell of it — it's the forced march of going round the table and giving thanks that I love.
In my experience, most children — men in particular (and my father-in-law in particular) — are allergic to this holiday ritual. Over the years, I've learned the trick is to wait till the middle of the meal before you advance — get them stoned on tryptophan, serve up an antihistamine of stuffing, and tear down their resistance with French's fried-onion-and-green-bean casserole. Even then, eyes will roll. But you'll prevail. I am ferocious in my love of this theater of gratitude. I bake pies and candy yams in its honor. I engorge myself on its alter.
I love it so much, I start making my list in advance:
This year, I am grateful for family.
For my grandparents, who just celebrated 60 years of marriage.
For my grandfather, who taught me to appreciate bathroom humor by locking us in the room with his proudest farts.
For my grandmother, who kicks him under the dinner table any time he channels Rush Limbaugh.
For my other grandfather, who swears the key to a happy 92 years is "life support" (we'll all raise a gin and tonic to that).
I'm grateful to Hawaii for existing and for Hawaiian Airlines for flying me there.
I'm grateful for coffee, which helpfully keeps you awake when you're writing a book about it.
I'm grateful for my garden, which gives me food and also foodie status points.
Similarly: my chickens — except the dead ones — my dehydrator and water bath canner, my ice-cream maker and steam juicer, my yogurt koozie.
For my cat Jack, professional cuddler that he is.
For my cat Bird, who only peed on me under the covers that one time.
For my little house, which shelters me from the Portland rain.
For my friends, and their love of champagne.
For my bookshelf full of books.
For my husband and his good looks.
For my health.
For my wealth.
For everything yet unthanked.
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Hanna Neuschwander has written extensively about the coffee-roasting movement in the Pacific Northwest for publications including Portland Monthly, Willamette Week, and Edible Portland. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Books mentioned in this post
Hanna Neuschwander is the author of Left Coast Roast: A Guide to the Best Coffee and Roasters from San Francisco to Seattle