So, my grandfather has a lot of health issues. It sounds a lot worse than it is, really, but he has lymphoma (the less-bad kind and in remission) and he recently had triple-bypass surgery, during which he had a minor stroke. He is doing a lot better (they helped him walk down the hall today!) and is going to be just fine.
BUT this means we are not having our normal, huge family Thanksgiving. It’s absolutely the best call, with all the craziness going on, but it’s a very strange feeling, knowing we won’t be gathering up and making all that food, spending the day with family, and hanging out. Thanksgiving has always been one of those times when I could sit back, relax, and reflect on my family. It’s a massive family, with umpteen relatives in the metroplex, and when I was little, we always got to see just about everyone on Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom’s family usually gathered at someone’s house and my dad’s family gathered at his mom’s house; some years everyone from both sides of the family gathered at our house! It was crazy and chaotic and delicious and amazing.
We had every kind of food imaginable, but my favorite Thanksgiving food (like my mother’s before me) has always been and will always be pumpkin pie. Yes, I make the cranberry sauce, but I don’t actually like cranberry sauce. Yes, I love my aunt’s creamed peas with bacon and onions, but my devotion to pumpkin pie is unswerving. My mom would make what seemed like an unending line of pumpkin pies (but was probably actually three pumpkin pies) and we would eat them for weeks. We’d have them for breakfast. We’d have them after lunch. We’d have a slice for a snack. We’d have another after dinner. And one just before bed, in case someone else got the last piece at breakfast. Those pies were perfect and they kept Thanksgiving going long after the last dish was washed at the actual meal.
I’d like to say there’s a deeper meaning to those pies. I’d like to say they always reminded me of the fickleness of fate or something deep and brooding and serious, but honestly, they just remind me of Thanksgiving. They remind me of my family, hanging out and being weirdos together and of my mom’s gift to me of the love of pie. And that’s why I’m baking one today. Because when the world is too busy, too crazy, and too pie-less, you make your own damn pie.