Mostly because the kitchen was crowded at my grandparents’ tiny home. Two generations of women preparing turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, pie. As the only granddaughter among nine grandchildren, I remember being torn between wanting to learn what was going on in the kitchen and wanting to learn how to watch football with the boys in the family room.
So pouring the wine in the dining room that connected the two areas at the grown-ups’ table allowed me two things – be a part of the meal prep and see who the Detroit Lions happened to be playing that day. My only instructions were to pour wine in every glass and try not to get any on the white tablecloth.
Don’t recall what wine was being poured – some years it was white, some years it was red, some years it was both. (This was well before Ward on Wine was around to advise us.) To my beer-drinking family, any wine went well with turkey, and it allowed us to raise a glass and toast another year of being together. It was ritual.
So every year, I still pour the wine because there’s comfort in ritual, there’s peace in knowing that family traditions are being carried out, and that somehow connects us with loved ones we have lost. And the food is the same: turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, pie.
Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is the one that makes it quite clear that no matter how dysfunctional and quirky your family may be, they’re all yours and they’re not going anywhere. And if you’re lucky, there’s wine.