β€œIn life we all have an unspeakable secret"

Ande Bliss

Ande Bliss
November 04
Essays, poetry, opinion and short stories. Free lance on line and in print. Favorite quote: "In life we all have an unspeakable secret, and irreversible regret, an unreachable dream, and an unforgettable love.” ― Diego Marchi Personal Website:


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NOVEMBER 21, 2012 5:27PM

Mashed Potatoes and Thanksgiving Wishes

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“It was Thanksgiving Day and I had a pile of dirty spuds to wash and peel for the waiting stock pot. I followed my mother’s admonishment, making sure to remove all the ‘eyes’ while taking only a thin layer of the skin. My mother reminded me that taking too much skin demonstrated a tendency to waste while leaving any trace of the dark around the eyes showed an inclination for slovenliness. She also told me that royal princes tested future princess/wives by having them peel potatoes. I was six, so it sounded reasonable test to me.

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.


Best wishes.

Anne Armand/ Ande Bliss




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Happy Thanksgiving, Ande. A good reminder that there are always things to be thankful for.
Thank you JL. And for you...a blessed day.
[r] Ande, elegant, profound and warm messaging as always. thank you and happy holiday to you. my mother only used that prince story on me once when I was very small, and it was about not the quality of the auditioning princess' cooking, but how she cleaned up afterwards. My mother's rendition was rather mechanical and uninspired, quite cynical about the likes of ANY princes iirc. fwiw. best, libby
My grandfather used to mash the potatoes. He told us, never get good at mashing potatoes because everyone will keep asking you to do it. At the time, it seemed like a bonehead task. I know now there are no bonehead tasks to a well-prepared dinner. Thank you for describing this holiday so well. /R
Thank you Libby. I always enjoy your comments. Seems mothers have funny ways of motivating....and we remember them. Always..
Enjoy the day. Wish my mom was here.

Nilesite, I am in my potato peeling clothes. Husband just groaned when he read this. I told him. Not to worry. Just stay out of the kitchen. Happy Thanksgiving.