It’s thanksgiving. My day looks like this:
Yes, I have paired it down to the essentials because if you are celebrating solo, no one will know if you bought cheap wine and pie from the store. If you are feeling indulgent, add a rotisserie chicken and a can of potato soup. After the bottle of wine, you won’t even taste the difference!
The question you are all asking is, how did it come to this? Like any holiday, there was some good old-fashioned maneuvering for a place at the table. This shifted a good number of times this year in my family. The only thing I was committed to was making myself available to the family for the first time in many years for ALL the holidays, wherever they might be. Travel to the East Coast during the busiest travel time of the year? Sure, why not? Stay in Sedona to keep parents company? That’s fine!
For various reasons, all these options caved in front of me with less than two weeks to go. It didn’t help that I threw a little poorly timed dynamite into my relationship to watch it explode right before Thanksgiving as well. That left me with exactly no place at any table. Honestly, I am a little relieved. I still appear young and hip enough that I have not yet reached the level of spinsterhood that warrants a pity invite. Cheers!
Face it: a good 50% of America would love to be in my shoes. This year I will not be groped by TSA. I will not have to politely listen to Uncle Cracker toast America’s new found greatness. I will not have to share a bathroom. Grandma’s dinner rolls were always a little dry and Aunt Jane’s salad never did much for me anyway. This year I won’t have to lie about it. There is much to be thankful for!
Fortunately this year has left me well practiced at wandering by myself. I planned on Utah to nab Capitol Reef National Park but at the last minute, even the weather turned uninviting. Undeterred, I headed to Death Valley. This way I could say that I was in the lowest and most desolate place I could be on Thanksgiving just to layer on the guilt to anyone that asks.
I had the privilege of being present for one of the three days it rains here. I lay in bed at night listening to it ping off my aluminum roof while thinking of the blanket I left out on the picnic table. I imagined a sopping mess in the morning and worried how I would get it dry before having to pack it away. No worries. As it turned out, it evaporates at the exact rate it rains, which means that while it was raining, I folded and stowed a perfectly dry blanket. I am still entranced by this bit of magic. Perhaps this explains the price of ice. Death Valley will be memorable for several things not the least of which is the premium on any frozen object. At twice the price of a gallon of California gas, it is hands down the most expensive ice I have ever purchased. I suppose trying to keep ice frozen while hauling it through one of the hottest places on earth will do that but, damn, it’s not like it turned to wine once it melted. Ice cream might as well be gold. Good thing I brought pie!
So raise a glass and a fork! It’s Thanksgiving!