This year we -- my mother, daughter, and I -- were not invited to anybody else's "celebration," and so I cooked a more or less traditional dinner. My daughter and I like the leftovers more than the meal itself, it seems. My mom enthusiastically helped herself to the homemade cranberry jam, "that red stuff" as she keeps calling it, even piling scoops of it on her salad and pecan pie. Whatever.
Since it was just the 3 of us, our table conversation was easily enough steered away from anything political -- my condolences to anybody who had to endure otherwise. We talked about the dog show that was broadcast earlier in the day (why do dachshunds never win Best in Show?), the wildfire smoke that made the day seem glooomy, and Thanksgivings past. Although my mother and I shared my first 25 or so Thanksgivings at HER mother's house, my mom's brain betrayed those memories, and instead she complained about having to cook Thanksgiving back when she was married to my Dad and lived wherever that place was called. I tried to make some references to specific traditions and dishes that were part of all of our actual Thanksgiving get-togethers, but Mom didn't really seem to make the connection, to remember that she was there, too.
Instead of worrying about my mom inventing memories, though, I kept to myself how hilarious the idea of her making a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for my Norwegian dad was. Sticky sweet potatoes, turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie -- all of those foods were indeed foreign to him, and we never had anything like that in our house unless it was leftovers schlepped home from Gram's.
As I was saying, the reason I made Thanksgiving dinner was so that we could have leftovers. And I guess leftovers are like memories. You can recreate the same meal you originally enjoyed, true, but you can also create something entirely new, like my Mom did with her memories of Thanksgiving past. It's not worth getting upset over, it just IS.
I wonder what she'll be putting cranberry jam on today.....