Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Politics vs. Thanksgiving

Maybe it's a good thing that Thanksgiving follows the election - it forces us, whether winner or loser on that first Tuesday after the first Monday, to reflect upon what really matters.

I was heartsick following the election as I just couldn't believe a majority of Americans were really happy with the way the country was going, or that a majority of Lucas County residents didn't understand the negative consequences of increasing taxes on others for 'wants' when so many were going short of 'needs.'

Then I had to give a speech to the Fallen Timbers Republican Club and they asked me to help them see the positives going forward. It forced me to find them and communicate them in a way that gave encouragement, cheering me up as well.

Today I read this at RedState.com:

"It always annoys the Left when people from our side indeed pick themselves up and dust themselves off. We never wallow enough in despair to suit them, honestly."

I realize it's true...but I'm not sure I'm quite ready yet to get back in the fight - at least, not this week.

On my mother's side of the family, there is just her and her sister. Each of them had three kids and there are only seven grandkids between them. It's a small family - but close.

We're spread out across the country from Portland, WA, to Las Vegas to Memphis to Detroit - and us here in the Toledo area. But every Thanksgiving we get together, taking turns between Toledo and Memphis for hosting the family gathering.

Sometimes, it's the entire family, but most years someone isn't able to make it. As we've gotten older, obligations to spouses and their families must be balanced with traditions established when were children. That's okay - but it doesn't make us any less close or stop the rest of us from gathering.

In 2003, Sam and I started hosting 'our turn.' We bought a new house in 2002 and it's got plenty of beds for family to stay and lots of room for everyone to eat at the same table (though it's actually a couple of tables pushed together).

My oven is too small for the house (a quirk of the prior owners) as I learned that year when the turkey was too big to fit inside it and we had to cart it over to my mom's house at 7:30 a.m. and then cart it back when it was done cooking. That just makes for a fond memory now. And an electric roaster easily solved that problem in subsequent years.

This year, Sam and I are hosting again and will be serving dinner for 14. There are 10 who won't be with us but two of our friends (who are family just without the biological connection) will join us and be part of our feasting, laughing and enjoying.

Despite what many see as the headaches of preparing, I love this aspect of the celebration. I've been planning the menu for a while now. I took two days to make my grocery list and plan my route for shopping. I splurge and have a friend's daughter who started her own cleaning service come to clean, but I still have to pick up and organize. (Ashley's Cleaning Service - and she's absolutely fantastic!)

Then I have to prep, prepare and cook as much as possible ahead of time so I'll be able to actually enjoy my company. And with this menu:

Honeybaked ham; roasted duck; roasted sweet potatoes and sweet pumpkin with a brown butter sage topping; roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts; cheesy potatoes; green bean casserole with those crunchy onion things on top; Mom's homemade oyster dressing; popovers; roasted pear with blue cheese salad; pumpkin roll and my aunt's homemade pecan pie. Oh - and plenty of Sam's homemade champagne with sparkling grape juice for the kids.

you'll see that it is a bit of work.

This is the time to reflect on all that we are grateful for. One way of showing my family how much I love and appreciate them is to share this meal with them. And the meal deserves the attention necessary to match my devotion my family.

So with all this on my mind, politics just doesn't seem as important to me right now.

I know that Sherrod Brown said something rather stupid the other day - and I emailed myself the link so I can write about it.

I know that Toledo Public Schools is finally getting around to maybe forming a committee to discuss the possibility of setting up a study to consider getting together to potentially bring to the board for discussion....a performance audit. They're looking at two choices: an organization devoted to large urban school districts or the state auditor. The choice should be a no-brainer, but this is Toledo, so I'm doing research and will need to write about that.

I also know that provisional ballots are soon to be counted and that may impact the results for one of the tax levies that was on the ballot - and that deserves a blog post as well.

I'll write about these topics, but right now, I'm just not in the political mood. And I suspect many of you might feel the same way.

So this week, politics will lose out to Thanksgiving - as it should be.

There is so much to be grateful for and I hope these next several days give you the opportunity to appreciate the many blessings in your lives. The politics will wait, but the food won't.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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