For some people the upcoming days count down to serious Christmas shopping. Others are counting the days to shotgun season. For me, multiple checklists focus me toward the annual Thanksgiving crowd at my house. With about forty guests expected, the checklists–my marching orders–keep me from total panic. I used to spend a whole weekend making lists, but one year I used half a brain cell and decided to save the lists on the computer. Now I whip out those files, do a little tweaking, and get marching.
Ok, marching is an optimistic way to phrase that. Marching implies order and calmness. Every year my Thanksgiving prep begins with total shock. What? Thanksgiving is in ten days??? How did that happen? It’s not like I don’t know it’s coming. Every week since September I’ve been telling myself to clean the cobwebs off the front door. Halloween has come and gone, along with the excuse for having cobwebs on the front door. I know it’s November. Thanksgiving is at the end of November. What? It’s the middle of November already? Ack!!!
Inevitably a family member will email me and ask if I’m sending the annual Thanksgiving Family-gram. They don’t want to presume that I’m hosting, but…am I? Of course. Where better to spend T-day than over the river and through the woods to a cozy log home where there is shooting down on the field and big-screen football inside followed by cigars under the stars? Plus, over the years, I’ve collected dishes, card tables and chairs, coffee urns, table linens, even a chocolate fountain. Someone else would have to borrow all that stuff.
So, I have to send the Family-gram. This is the “tell me who is coming and what you are bringing” communication. We have finally almost mastered the skill of building the menu online by clicking “Reply All” to the last email and adding meal contributions directly onto the menu. I say “almost” because one sister, who shall be unnamed but it’s the one who is so high up in corporate management that her territory consists of our entire galaxy, well, she must need a secretary to do it for her. She can’t seem to get her items into the menu itself. Every year we try again and inch toward getting it right.
A burst of adrenalin has launched me to the computer. I open all my to-do lists, tweak last year’s family-gram and send it, and order the turkeys. Now a second wave of denial hits me. I have almost two weeks to do all the things on the list. So I write a blog post about it. I grab a snack and note the despicable condition of the fridge. I stare at the silver that wants polishing. I ponder setting the auto-clean on the oven. (Really, how hard is it to set the auto-clean? Why do I not have a sparkling oven?)
I may have marching orders, but I don’t march. It’s more like running hurdles. With rest-stops between the hurdles. (No one has ever accused me of being an athlete.) Ok, I’m going to get up now. What’s that proverb? A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Really, I am. I’m getting up now. Promise.