Time seems relative to age, don’t you think? That is, as we age, Time passes more swiftly. As Ron Mariotti once told me: “It’s either the Fourth of July or Christmas!” (And I suddenly find myself on the upper cusp of the Now Generation, attempting to grow old as gracefully as possible.)
Anyway, what goes around, comes around, and it’s Thanksgiving again.
More than any other holiday, Thanksgiving is, traditionally, the time for an extended-family gathering of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grand-parents. I say “traditionally” because today’s rapid transit and shifting employment make such gatherings increasingly unusual. (More on this shortly.)
When I was a child, 18 or 20 relatives met at the home of my great aunt. Mostly I remember the pumpkin pie, the cigar smoke, and a bunch of drunken foolishness. There was also a poker game — again conducted in a heavy fog of cigar smoke— that got sillier as the evening wore on, until threes and nines were wild, fours got another card, and your low hole-card and all like it were also wild. Who-the-hell can figure the odds in a mess like that? Of course, given enough booze, it really doesn’t matter if one-eyed jacks are wild or not.
Today, such large family gatherings somehow seem to be rather quaint, essentially rural Thanksgivings that are rather rare in our suburban enclaves. I’m the perfect case in point. Many of the people I mentioned above are dead and with my mother’s death, much of the cohesiveness between those remaining passed away as well. Then too, people have moved away. I have cousins in Seattle, but we rarely get together for Thanksgiving, or any other time for that matter. My sister is on the coast and I haven’t seen her for years.
But don’t think for a moment I’m lonesome. Far from it. I spend the holiday with close friends and share dinner with perhaps 20 people. It’s just that none of them are blood relatives.
Strange enough, only two of them smoke. We send them out in the garage. (But alas, if the truth be known, I think I actually miss the cigar smoke.)
And since Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday, revolves around food, it’s only fitting that I close this column with the recipe for one of my favorite holiday treats:
Peanut Butter Balls
• 1 cup peanut butter• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
• Mix and roll into 3/4 inch balls. Freeze.
• In a double-boiler, melt one 12-ounce package of chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of paraffin. Dip balls into chocolate and put on wax paper. Refrigerate.
Obviously, these aren’t recommended for anyone on a low-fat or sugar-free diet.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And let me be the first to wish all of you a most joyful and splendid holiday season!