Dear Grandparenting: This is our 11th straight year of hosting family and friends for our Thanksgiving feast — a major undertaking when you’re expecting 17 guests, plus the strays that will wander in.
There is no way I could get by without more than a little help from my friends Bliss and Tom. We start with the planning and shopping two weeks out. Besides the bird, we do our legendary mashed potatoes and Tom’s secret stuffing, deviled eggs, peas and roasted Brussels sprouts, salad, rolls, gravy and cranberry. Everyone brings a pie, preferably pumpkin. That’s about it, like every other year.
In the beginning we had one big rule: Arguing or foul language will not get you invited back, period. The corollary: Politics is never discussed.
Our traditional Thanksgiving supper has become more complicated. People can’t let well enough alone. I get earfuls about how to tweak the stuffing or dress the bird and everything else!
Some of the kids are very health conscious and talk about calories or carbs nonstop. Some smart aleck will probably disrespect my turkey by giving us a little speech about how they adore ham or pork or some cultural dish I’ve never heard of. That’s happened three times now. Or guests bring prepared dishes that they expect me to cook and serve, but that’s not happening either.
So I had to add a second rule this year: No menu changes, and no comments on how much or how little of whatever we choose to eat. Don’t impose your personal dietary rules on me or my guests!
Kids today, my three grandchildren included, believe that change is always for the better. When it’s their thing or their preference, it’s automatically superior to my old, stale traditions. Maybe the Internet put ideas in their little heads, like technology made them smarter.
If we keep this Thanksgiving thing going, Bess and Tom want to separate the younger set, maybe at another table in another room just for them. I’ll admit it’s getting crowded — we already need to put three tables together.
That’s OK with me. I work too hard making sure everything is perfect to put up with any long faces from the kids. Thanksgiving is about being grateful for the basics — food, family and friends. Yes, gratitude. How about more of that and less with all the changes? Pass it on. Ginger Girl, Kingsport, Tennessee
Dear Ginger: It’s our bet you have plenty of company, so we’re running your letter verbatim. Some traditions simply cannot be improved upon. Thanksgiving qualifies.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Nelson Royal, from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, finds grandparenting “less stressful” than parenting.
“I just let it roll. For every time I said no as a parent, I can shout out a big ‘Yes!!!’ now that I’m a grandparent!!”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.