Saturday, November 25, 2006

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, all! Hope you had a lovely day of food and football and family.

My parents are here in NYC for the week (the power of grandchildren!), and they braved the rain to take in the big parade while E and I worked on dinner. I did most of my cooking at my apartment in Manhattan on Wednesday night, then carried everything over to Brooklyn. Let me tell you, food is heavy!! I had a squash casserole (classic southern dish), veggie-sausage and apple dressing, a pecan pie, and a chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake – all still warm! – carefully set into a laundry basket. Then I had a bag full of cheeses, olives, other hors d’oeuvres, and two bottles of wine. All in all, I think it was about 50 pounds of stuff! I only had to walk two (Avenue) blocks to the subway, but my arms were aching the next day! Nothing got even slightly damaged in transit, though, and everything tasted as good as it looked. E made the turkey (her first!), a really yummy cranberry sauce, roasted winter veggies, Brussels sprouts, green beans, and a pumpkin pie. It was quite possibly a perfect Thanksgiving meal.

We all said our “thanks” before dishing up, and as always, family topped the list. We missed having S&S, my sister and bro-in-law, and sent them lots of love on the phone. In addition to family, I really am most thankful for music, that it is both my vocation and my avocation, something I would do passionately even if it were just a hobby.

I was reminded on Thanksgiving how much music is central to my family, both now and as I was growing up. What triggered the thought was putting on “The Sound of Music” LP (yes, a record!) during the last hour of dinner preparation and everybody singing along. It was awesome! Sylvia got out her marionette horse puppet during the lonely goatherd song, and even little 16-month-old James got in on the action. He went around all night and the next day singing the opening pitches of “Do, a Deer” in perfect intervals. A budding singer?

I might not have grown up in a “classical music” house, but I was surrounded by music. Simon & Garfunkel, Anne Murray, ABBA, John Denver, the list goes on. Lots of church music, of course, with a few chestnuts like the Brandenburg concerti and Amahl and the Night Visitors thrown in for good measure. The overarching theme to my musical upbringing, I suppose, is that music is for communicating; I credit my folk music background for my love of singing in English (and my good English diction! No supertitles at coffee shop openmikes..). Music is something to share, and it is joyful!

And for that, I am Thankful.

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