One of the perks of living in our amazing part of the world is that the weather allows us to enjoy the outdoors year-round. So it has been our tradition for many years to go on a picnic for Thanksgiving. It started when our children were small and we thought they would enjoy being able to run around and have fun instead of sitting at a table all dressed up! The older “kids” [read: dads] liked it too because they could play football instead of just watching it on tv. As the years went by, the football teams got more serious, the players got older and taller, and we added basketball and frisbee…. Of course, all along, we had our beautiful autumn fix at the site we chose for our annual Thanksgiving feast, an old schoolhouse tucked into the hills of Santa Ynez. There were maple trees and brightly colored leaves on the ground, picnic tables that we loaded with our bounty from home… and no paper plates for us, oh no. We always brought our dishes, flatware, serving pieces and wine glasses to set a proper Thanksgiving table. True, over the years, we lost a few of those glasses; and true, sometimes the food didn’t stay as hot as we would have liked; and true, that Coleman stove didn’t quite fill the bill; and true, everyone still groans when we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. But it’s been a tradeoff… a beautiful spot in which to bask in the glory of nature, a way to enjoy an outdoor feast as the Pilgrims did way back when, and a day we all looked forward to as one of fun, food, and family. As time went on, we added many friends who all brought with them their own traditional foods and customs which enhanced our Thanksgiving even further. It’s not hard to feel uplifted, happy, and grateful, when, after all the cooking and baking, packing up and schlepping up there, we are able to stand back and revel in our blessings.
Wherever you are this Thanksgiving, whether gathering at a picnic table, sitting around a dining room table, eating turkey off a TV tray, or frolicking in the park, we wish you a wonderful holiday, with friends and family, fabulous food, and much joy.