Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

The sun is up, and it’s almost time to put the turkey in the oven. In a few hours, the house will be filled with the savory smells that bring the memories of Thanksgivings past to life. It took a lot of work to get to this point.

We have so much to be thankful for – so naturally, Thanksgiving is a big deal to us. It takes a minimum two days to pull off the perfect meal. Yesterday was a sort of culinary prep marathon. I ironed the table linens and set the table, placed the centerpieces. I peeled five pounds of sweet potatoes, then chopped them into one inch cubes. I rolled pie crust. I diced two pounds of onions, and an equal amount of celery. I mixed cornbread, and cut it into cubes for stuffing. I minced cups of rosemary, sage, and thyme. And I washed endless pots, pans, knives and cutting boards.

At the end of the day, my hands and wrists had had enough. Swollen, red, and achy, I submerged them in warm water, and wrapped them in warm compresses. It was the kind of overuse treatment reserved for a vigorous workout. I ignored my swollen feet and knees – they weren’t happy about standing on a tile floor for the twelve-hour cooking extravaganza. But they didn’t take the abuse that my hands did, so they had to wait in line.

Today is less a chopping-mincing day, and more a heavy lifting day. Moving the turkey in and out of the oven, stirring a roux, pouring drippings over it from the roasting pan to make gravy. Removing casseroles filled with sweet potatoes, stuffing, and green beans from the oven for placement on the warming tray to await the star of the show. Hand whipping mashed potatoes.

I’m thankful for another year that I am capable of putting on this affair, and hopeful for many more. I’m well aware that my condition can decline at any time without notice, and that epicurean events like my kind of Thanksgiving may not always be a possibility in my future.

I'm thankful for my family and my home, for the United States, for a job and food on the table. I’m thankful for my faith in God. And this year, like the five before it, I am thankful for my rheumatologist, and for the advances in medicine that have made today possible for me. I’m especially thankful for the chemists at Amgen who created Enbrel.

To all of you, and especially to those who had to overcome a physical challenge to make this day joyful for the ones you love, Happy Thanksgiving!

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