I’m sure my sly mother must have enjoyed watching me hone my princess worthiness as I carefully peeled each potato, dreaming about the prince who would show up at 39 Fuller Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, to claim me as his bride.”
Excerpt from The Hannah Rose Diaries.
© Anne Armand, 2012
My table is set for tomorrow. There will be seven of us around the table here at the apartment in Florida. My ‘prince’ of the past twenty years and I are from New Hampshire. The guests are from Wisconsin, Michigan and North Dakota. We will each contribute to the feast. Wisconsin is bringing the green bean casserole and dessert. North Dakota is bringing the turkey and dressing, and gravy. Michigan is in charge of squash and cranberry salad. I am serving shrimp cocktail, candied carrots, and the mashed potatoes.
Wine will be served from decanters, bowls will be filled with fruit and nuts and candles lit. Unlike the casual dining we usually enjoy, this day will be special. It will be a linen napkin day.
Our group came here to escape the cold and ice of our northern homes. We did so, knowing that the holidays were going to be difficult.Some of us do travel 'back' and some stay here hoping kids will find their way 'down'. But that doesn't happen as often as we would like. Most of the 'kids', now in their forties and fifties prefer to spend their week's vacation on an island in the Caribbean rather than in a senior community with a bunch of old folks. We don't blame them.
So, when we gather together in one of our apartment homes, we set a grand table, dress up and bring on the cheer. It is not the same, but it is still good.
For many of you, this might be your first Thanksgiving alone or the first time someone you love has gone missing. The absence is profound. It has taken me years to cope with my own annual holiday depression. It is only with the help of my husband and friends that I found solace and distraction. Being in this place actually helps. With a changed venue, I don't try to recreate what was. That is not to say that I recommend drastic changes to one's life, but I do believe that small alterations can help your focus during the holiday season. The empty chair at the table can only bring grief. Fill it with a neighbor or friend. It is a double blessing.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. May we all strive to fill the plates of the hungry and give shelter to those who are displaced or lost. Let there be peace in the world.
Anne Armand/ Ande Bliss