By Kathi Macias
Didn’t we just do Thanksgiving? It couldn’t possibly have been a year since the last one because I promised myself I was going to lose those extra turkey-and-mashed-potatoes pounds but…I haven’t! How can that be?
Seriously, when I was young I could lose ten pounds by skipping lunch for a few days. Now? Turkeys follow me around laughing. They know they’re not the only ones who are going to pay the price for this calorie-laden holiday.
I remember Thanksgiving when we were kids, when my mom started baking on Monday for Thursday’s feast. She was so busy preparing for the big day that she forgot we still had to eat until then. Between Sunday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week, we survived on dry cereal and cold hot dogs.
But it was worth it! Thursday morning we woke up to the sounds of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and the early smells of turkey just starting to waft through the house. Half-starved after our four days of meager pre-Thanksgiving rations, we hurried into the kitchen and tried to snitch a cookie or two, only to be shooed back into the living room to watch the floats and marching bands on our flickering black-and-white screen.
Being the oldest and the only girl, I was the only one who had planned ahead and stored up a few handfuls of dry cereal. As my brothers watched, looking hungry and pathetic, I ignored them and munched away, wondering how long it would take before they resorted to chewing on their crayons. But soon the cavalry—in the form of my German grandmother, whom we called Omi—arrived, bringing her homemade butter cookies and immediately distributing them to her grateful grandchildren.
Then, at last, that wonderful announcement came forth from the kitchen: “Dinner’s ready,” and the stampede began. Of course, it wasn’t long until we were all holding our stomachs and moaning that we couldn’t possibly eat another bite…until Mom brought in the pies. It was only then, as I sat stuffing forkfuls of whipped-cream-covered pumpkin custard into my mouth that I realized it was nearly time to do dishes. That’s when the advantages of being the oldest and the only girl went right out the window.
“Oooh,” I groaned. “I think I’m sick. I’d better go to bed and—”
“Oh, no you don’t,” Dad interrupted. “You’re just trying to get out of helping your mother with the dishes, and it’s not going to work.”
Glancing across the table at my two grinning little brothers, I glared back with a silent promise to get even with them later.
But of course I survived—dishes and all—though I never seemed to gain an ounce despite my tireless efforts to out-eat everyone else at the table. Several decades later, I fondly remember those days each time I have to add elastic to my wardrobe.
Maybe this year I’ll do something different. I wonder how my family would like it if I cooked a health-food dinner—you know tofu and veggies and…
Nah. Omi and Mom passed the torch, and now it’s my turn. But even as I serve the turkey and pies and wonder who I can snag to help me with clean up, I’ll make it a point to help them all focus on the One who has blessed us with so much and calls us to extend those blessings to others.
After all, I don’t want to be the only one wearing elastic pants this holiday season!