The World is a Stage

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Our Thanksgiving has passed and it was wonderful. For the last two years our Thanksgiving has been celebrated early so we could share it with friends as Peter and I have little family left.

You will be stunned to realize that these dinners consisted of nine people and we were at our house. I know you are wondering how this could be when I hate cooking for two people let alone a hoard of nine, but it is true. When last year's Thanksgiving invitations were verbally given to our friends, you could see the subtle signs of terror in their eyes and the blanching of their faces. This was very scary indeed, for they all know that the only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house.

Frankly I don’t know why anyone is allowed to have a kitchen as it is an extremely dangerous place. I have hazard signs noting the areas to be avoided due to previous injuries, like the knife rack and freezer.

Freezer? Yes, I was doing dishes one night and with wet hands grabbed the container of leftovers to put it into the freezer. I pulled out the rack, put the dish in the freezer then could not remove my previously wet, now frozen fingers from the rack. From the position of the fridge I could not reach the tap to get warm water to unfreeze my fingers. You laugh, but it was not an enviable situation. This is why I am not allowed work in the kitchen unless Peter is home, and why I have bandaids on the counter at all times!

To avoid a meal where the appetizers need to be Tums, they quickly arranged who would bring what, and it ended up that I would only be allowed to set and decorate the table and tell them where to find things in my kitchen. I went out and found pretty leaves and those tall feathery looking things in the ditches and some branches with berries to decorate the table. They were weird but artistic centerpieces.

I was not allowed in the kitchen and although for a moment I felt a bit embarrassed, I was quickly over that and enjoyed myself tremendously!

What a wonderful meal. What wonderful friends who would do all that, and what a wonderful time we had.

I can be crazy but stupid I am not, so I immediately invited them all back for this year's Thanksgiving. They of course had been enjoying wine with supper and they all said yes and I held them to it!

This year was a wonderful repeat of last year. Well, there were a few embarrassing moments, like when I couldn’t find the meat thermometer (I hate that thing). But I was so proud when Penny asked for oil and I actually had olive oil in the house, but the thrill died quickly when they found it was rancid. I didn’t know it would go bad. I couldn’t even remember when I bought it, as I don’t use oil. Cooking oil causes fires, so I only use the spray stuff.

There was a moment of stunned silence in the kitchen when Judy went for the microwave only to discover there was not one. (Microwaves only burn fast so I got rid of mine). But not to worry, the ladies all put their heads together and improvised a solution.

This year’s plans of a unique centerpiece went awry when the monument restoration expert from Sarnia came to Tillsonburg and I spent the day before our big dinner at the Pioneer Cemetery, learning about monument restoration techniques. I considered putting little chips of marble which I have collected around the graveyard at each table setting as a table favour, but I figured most of them would not really appreciate them like I would. So I rushed off to the store and put a lovely little plant at each of the ladies places and a bag of M&Ms at each of the men’s places. Now that was better than even a weird table setting!

This year I was even more useless than ever as I started the day with a migraine and had the residual drug daze for hours afterward. But my friends are true; they came early in the afternoon to put the roast on, while I lay down for a bit. They joyfully all got in my tiny little kitchen and had a wonderful time, preparing and visiting. I was not allowed. It was wonderful!

You know you have real good friends when, after creating the magnificent repast, they help with the dishes. I don’t own a dishwasher, as there are only two of us dirtying dishes and there is not enough room in my kitchen. I don’t normally like doing dishes, for it is another very dangerous chore in a kitchen, with scalding water and sharp knives lurking beneath the suds. But, I love doing dishes when we have company as we always have a wonderful time sharing our lives and stories with our friends.

We are so blessed to have friends who will, without hesitation, take away a laborious, difficult and disliked chore and joyfully produce not only a wonderful feast, but do so with love and laughter. They exemplify friendship and are the heart of our thanksgivings.


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