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November 21, 2001: Add soup; stir well

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I'm sitting here at my computer, waiting for Richard to get home. He's off doing a few last minute errands, and I've just finished packing up everything I need for the next few days, and doing a hasty clean-up of the kitchen.

When he gets home, we'll load everything into the car - clothes, jackets, all the parts for the green bean casserole that is our contribution to the feast tomorrow, and of course our palm pilots and keyboards. I might even throw in that smocking project and see if I can't get a few more rows stitched since after all, the goal still is to get it done in time to give it to my little niece for Christmas. I'll do one last run through the house, making sure the food and water bowls are full and that the litter boxes are clean. We'll say goodbye to the cats and then join the throngs of people on the freeway as we make our way to join our family for Thanksgiving.

It's going to be a very different Thanksgiving this year though, at least for me. This year will be the first in my entire life that I will not sat down to dinner at my parents' dining room table, and joined hands in candlelight to sing a blessing before we eat our holiday feast. Friday will be the first time that I will not rise the morning after Thanksgiving and join my mom and sisters on a shopping trip to prepare for Christmas. This Thanksgiving - our first one together - will be at his family home. Like all families, they have their own traditions, and these are simply things I am not used to. Yet.

Before we got married, we sat down and figured out one of the fundamental questions that any newlywed duo must face: how to divvy up the holidays between his family and mine. Easter's a bigger deal to his family; the Fourth of July is a bigger deal to mine. Those are easy. His family has their celebration Christmas Eve; mine gathers Christmas day. Again - easy (by virtue of the fact that the families only live a few hours driving distance apart). Only Thanksgiving must be shared - one year at one house, and the next at the other (Actually, if we're going to be completely technical, next year's Thanksgiving will be mine to host. But the point here is that the family around the dinner table - the dining room table we're going to have to buy sometime between now and next November, that is - will primarily be mine).

I've no doubt that Thanksgiving with my new in-laws will be wonderful. After all, I managed to marry into a family nearly identical to my own in humor and values. In fact, one of the few regrets we have about building our house where we did is that the locations means we don't get to see them more often than we do.

It's going to be a different Thanksgiving for more than just me, of course. My parents decided that since none of their children would be home this year (we all did try to plan this so we'd all be together every other year), they're going to spend their Thanksgiving doing something fun. Even as I write this, they're on a plane, heading for the Grand Canyon. My mom has always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, and I guess Thanksgiving week's as good a time as any.

And it'll be a little bit different for Richard's family as well - and not just because there'll be one more person at the table. I'm doing my small part to bring a taste of my own family's traditions with me - by introducing them to the one part of Thanksgiving they've apparently been lacking all these years: green bean casserole.

Integrating in the green bean-and-soup-and-french-fried-onion-goo is one thing, but I have a feeling I should probably stop there. Some things - like my family's traditional holiday beverage are best left unshared.

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