When Thanksgiving knocks for the first
It’s official, the family Thanksgiving festivities will
be held at our house this year. In the holiday spirit of giving
thanks, of being grateful for the goodness of family, friends,
and life itself, we will, for the first time, be opening our doors
to my wife’s family for the grand occasion.
This is not to imply that we have left them shivering outside
in the past, holding bowls of cranberries and green beans, staring
helplessly through the window. It is just that we have had the
luxury of bringing our portion of dishes to the tenured family
member’s home, enjoying the whole affair, and returning
to our abode shortly before falling into a deep tryptophan induced
sleep. It’s not that we are indolent, on the contrary, we
gladly contribute in any way we can, and we revel in every minute
spent with family. Yet, we have never played host to the Thanksgiving
event. That is until now.
When you have the honor of breaking new ground and bringing
your personality to the beginnings of a new family Thanksgiving
tradition, the desire to perform exceptionally well can’t
be helped. Unfortunately, we don’t have the pleasure of
being able to fall back on what worked and what didn't work at
any previous Thanksgiving gathering. These are unchartered waters
at our house, and this is where the concern lies. We've gone and
invited the entire family to our home, which seemed like a good
idea at the time, but now we are worrying about a few problems.
In studying the layout of our home, in order to accommodate
the crowd, it was only natural for us to also inspect the condition
of our home. Everything looks great when your not throwing a party,
but when people are knocking on the door, every minute flaw comes
to light. Our dogs, when inside, do the best they can to keep
a tidy house, and so does our two year-old daughter, but for some
reason my wife and I can’t seem to be in a room for more
than five minutes without leaving chew-toys and stuffed animals
strewn all over the place. (At least that describes “the
look” we get from the true perpetrators.) Yet, as the countdown
continues, and with a little extra effort, we can’t help
but think these concerns will probably dissipate. What is more
likely to happen is that we will dismiss the randomly placed Elmo,
in lieu of more substantial matters.
The size of things appears to be of some concern. According
to my less-than-scientific calculations, we have a big family
and a small house. In our small house we have a small kitchen,
a small oven, a small refrigerator, a small table, and various
other small items. In our dining room we have two small couches,
no table, and three big dogs. We do have a big living room, but
that is where the TV resides, and where the football games will
be watched until the final tackle of the day. Apparently, we have
small things that need to be bigger and big things that could
stand to be a little smaller. My wife has created a diagram, complete
with circles and arrows, that shows where and how each piece of
the puzzle should be arranged. Although we might need to place
a call to David Copperfield, we feel somewhat confident that with
a jiggle here and a juggle there, we can re-arrange enough furniture
to make the various pieces suffice.
Another issue is that our family consists mostly of males. If
you haven’t already guessed, the men seem to exist in a
big manner. We eat too much, talk too loud, need more space to
maneuver, and are only able to sit two on a four-person couch.
We just need more room to function. My wife came up with the perfect
solution to this dilemma rather quickly, it involves moving the
TV and couches outside with the dogs, but I believe, with a little
dose of graciousness, we boys can work together so as not to pester
The biggest concern now, is the meal itself. Preparing a big,
Thanksgiving dinner for a huge group is hard work and can be quite
stressful. We know this because at some point we’ve both
been privy to spectacles of food preparation for a large party.
Things can get pretty heated when there is much to be accomplished
in a short amount of time, and not just in the kitchen. So it
was decided that every time tension rears its head, no matter
what may be on fire in the oven, that we will take a minute to
visualize a good time, a low stress time, and not forget to breathe.
After all, we must remind ourselves that bringing the family
together for Thanksgiving, or for any major holiday celebration,
calls for thoughtful planning, flexibility, patience, sensitivity
and the likelihood of creative on-the-spot problem-solving by
the hosting party, which this year just happens to be us. Besides,
this process will be reason for us to take some Time Off.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!
Las Placitas Association and Diamond Tail Ranch co-sponsored
the third annual Diamond Tail Hike on October 18. An excited group
of approximately 60 people turned out in all their gear to traverse
the ranch’s beautiful terrain and inspect an ancient petroglyph
There were three options attendees could choose from to make
their way to the petroglyphs: the “challenging” trail,
the “easy” path, or a car ride that was available
to the site for those who did not wish to make the 1.5-mile hike.
A person couldn’t ask for more spectacular scenery no matter
which option was selected.
The privately owned Diamond Tail Ranch consists of roughly 18,000
acres of the most unspoiled lands many in the group had ever seen
here in New Mexico. The extension of lava rock, on which the petroglyphs
are etched, rises along the undulating hills like a spine.
Dr. Jerry Brody, who was a professor at the University of New
Mexico in the Art History department for over 30 years, and past
Director of the Maxwell Museum, joined the group with his wife
Jean, both renowned archaeological experts, and provided some
insight on the petroglyphs. Dr. Brody and Jean helped interpret
the artistry of the etchings and expressed that although it is
very difficult to date the rock art, it was most likely to have
been done in the southwest’s late archaic period. “It
is difficult to date these examples,” said Dr. Brody, “often
work can be dated through the carbon samples of smoke or paint
found around the art...I feel relatively comfortable that these
samples are from the period of 1,000 A.D. - 200 A.D from past
The excursion was capped off with a lunch of barbeque chicken
and beef, cole slaw, beans, and vegetarian delights, among other
dishes. If you missed out on the occasion, I highly recommend
putting the time aside for the next adventure, you will not be