It’s Thanksgiving, the quintessential holiday for American families.
It’s a holiday where each family tends to develop its own rich trove of traditions. Maybe it’s a family football game before or after the feast. Maybe it’s a particular food, like Aunt Gertrude’s oyster stuffing or cranberry sauce still maintaining the shape of the can from which it came, sliced to produce red hockey pucks. Maybe it’s the rickety, riotous “kid’s table” where everyone under the age of 30 has to sit because the real dining room table can’t accommodate the whole clan.
But one of the biggest and most closely held traditions has to do with time — as in, when do you sit down for your meal? Newly married couples learn to their astonishment that not every family eats at the same time. Some people eat at noon, right after the parades end. Some people eat at four, squeezing the meal in between the football games on TV. So the newly married couple might eat two meals, one with each family, until they start to establish their own traditions.
I’ve never heard of anyone waiting until a more standard dinner time — say, 7 p.m. — to eat their turkey. By then, most of us are chowing a cold turkey sandwich, pounding down a second piece of pumpkin pie, and groaning at our gluttony.
Wherever you are, and whenever you eat, Happy Thanksgiving!