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Giving Thanks and Other Games

This was our third annual hosting of Thanksgiving with friends (second in Garrison).  It's such a wonderful thing to do, and enjoy;  Spending the holidays with friends.  After I moved away for college and worked my way to the West Coast, my thanksgivings were split each year between my father in California, or going to Virginia to see my mom. When she moved to Germany for 3 years, it was either spend it with father, if he was in town, or quite often spent with a friend and her family.
    As quite often predicted, those dinners can be fun, but awkward. Being a stranger at someone's table presents interesting opportunities...  questions.  Things to be answered or quietly redirected.  Usually the color of my hair was a hot topic.  These were good times and bad.
   When I moved to New York with my german boyfriend, I started to do Thanksgivings with my Manhattan friends.  Not a unique thing for young manhattanites.  These are usually a group of 20something couples and singles displaced from other parts of the country or Europe.   They were big fun meals, and well cooked. The conversation was hot and easy going.
   When I met my husband, it changed again.  He being from Manhattan, and having parents in the city changed the annual holiday ritual.   What was interesting though (his parents being divorced) going to his mother's for Thanksgiving was a different variation on my previous "friends" Thanksgiving.  Her dinners included her friends from New York.  And they all rivaled in culinary skill.  It was interesting to partake in a different kind of ritual.
   But she moved out west.  And oddly enough timed, right after we had twins.  And so, we sometimes had dinner with his father, or my mother in Virginia.  Maybe once with my father, who had moved to Colorado.   Basically, alternating 4 sets of grandparents each year between Thanksgivings and Christmases.   Not easy.
   So about 4 years ago, we decided traveling during the holidays sucked. About the same time, we started making a whole new group of friends in Brooklyn.  At that point  most of my Manhattan friends moved away... got married, started their new routines.
   Family is very important to me.  They will always be there for you no matter what.  As will best friends that were made when your younger.  But when your an adult, friendships become a different kind of family.  A new family.  You have the same interests, same struggles, same dilemmas... and joys.  It so nice to open a bottle of champagne, play backgammon, cook together and then sit down with your friends and loved ones, and share a delicious meal.  And say, Thank you for being there for me.  Thank you for being my friend.  And thank you for sharing this meal with us.

The Hike

The Place Cards

The Bird Chefs
The Cooks

The Little Eaters

Glass Identification

Backgammon Tournament

Tournament Winner

Photos by Jelle Wagenaar (kitchen scene by me).
Attendees this year: Nick and Victoria Sullivan, John and Eva Midgley, Jelle Wagenaar and Daniela Jung, Suzanne and Mark Warfield + Florence, Charlie, Luke, Jake, Fred, Nico, Jackson and Dean.