Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is great — who doesn’t love presents and all the pretty holiday trappings that go with the season — but there’s something about Thanksgiving that has always held my heart.
Let’s talk about the food.
Turkey — so many different ways to cook it and always delicious.
Mashed potatoes — real only, not that box stuff that Hollywood uses to double as snow.
Gravy — poured generously.
Stuffing — I prefer it outside of the bird but I’ll eat it either way.
Buttery biscuits/rolls — the best for sopping up all that extra gravy.
Fruit salad — who are we kidding, it has marshmallows in it, so it’s basically, dessert.
Candied yams — again, more marshmallows, does this qualify as part of dinner?
Green bean casserole — throw it in the trash.
Corn on the cob — any other day, fantastic, but who has room on Thanksgiving?
And finally, the piece de resistance … drum roll, please …
Let me be clear, all pie is amazing.
However, I am obsessed with pumpkin pie.
Left up to me, I will eat the entire pie, which is why I don’t eat pumpkin pie during any other season aside from Thanksgiving.
So, when I say, I’m ready for pie — I’m not messing around. I will show up with a bib napkin tied around my neck with a fork in each hand and no apologies given.
Add a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream and I’m in heaven.
While my love affair with pumpkin pie is epic and worthy of song, what really makes Thanksgiving so special is the time spent with family.
Let’s be real. We all take our loved ones for granted. We only have so much time on this planet to make memories that matter and yet, we push away those opportunities without second thought.
And that’s why I love Thanksgiving. For one day, we’re encouraged to put aside our daily nonsense and spend a day with the people who helped shape who we are as adults.
For our family, the routine means as much as the meal.
My mom cooks the dinner; I make the fruit salad.
My dad carves the turkey; my sister brings the pies.
There are kids everywhere; football is on the TV.
It’s always way too hot in the house from all the additional bodies crammed into those four walls and I usually have to escape outside to cool off.
My parents live nestled in the mountains, among the trees that framed my childhood. The sharp smell of pine, bear clover, and manzanita cling to the crisp air, awakening instant nostalgia from a life that feels so far away.
So, as we head into our Thanksgiving holiday, prepared to gobble our weight in delicious goodies, let us remember what nourishes our soul in ways that we often take for granted.
And, yes, of course, pass the pumpkin pie.
Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.