It was a Thursday in November and the smell of pumpkin pie and turkey wafted through the house. My mom asked me to help set the table but I was too busy prancing around the backyard dressed as a pilgrim, with an apron and an authentic paper bonnet. My Thanksgiving soup of water from the dog’s bowl, fallen persimmons, twigs and grass, for seasoning, was brewing in the bucket, almost ready. I just needed to get my dog to stop hiding so he could be the official taste tester, but every time I called, he would run back into the house.
Creating inedible delicacies remained a Thanksgiving tradition until way more recently than I would care to admit. Some people watch the Macy’s Day Parade in their PJs or the Twilight Zone on the SyFy channel, but those who make soup in a bucket on Thanksgiving are doing it right.
Just as School gets unbearable and we are ready to pack up and leave our obligations for Alaska, Chris McCandless-style, a heavenly five-day break arrives in our violet-covered planners. Something about a short break gives me this insane sense of ambition to take on crazy tasks. Crochet an entire sweater with no pattern? Read the collected lyrics of Stephen Sondheim ? Rewatch all three seasons of Community (#sixseasonsandamovie)? ABSOLUTELY DOABLE (and definitely dare-devilish).
November marks the start of the season of warm socks, fireplaces, freshly baked goods and debates about the legitimacy of reindeer (FYI: they’re totally real and just go by the name caribou so people don’t suspect them). Some credit the genesis of the holiday cheer to Halloween, but in a showdown between a jack-o-lantern and a turkey, the turkey definitely takes the gold. Halloween lasts one night (I’m not counting parties that take place over the weekend because, duh, Oct. 27 is not the same as Oct. 31), and that night usually falls on a weekday, so if you’re a teenage trick-or-treater, you suffer dirty looks from your neighbors and dirtier looks from your teachers the next day when you kinda didn’t do your homework.
Thanksgiving, on the other hand, comes with its own mini-break. Rather than feel pressured to have one awesome Halloween night, you have five full days free to stuff your face with pumpkin pie and listen to A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Unfortunately, however, the View from the Top at Thanksgiving time seems pretty stormy because of procrastination on college apps, so I implore younger girls to “gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” Go to Disneyland, color an entire coloring book, learn how to paper mâché a piñata. Make up for the work-filled break we seniors are prophesied to have, and enjoy it while you can. Seniors, we’ll be carpe diem-ing it up soon, but in the meantime dressing up like a pilgrim and making soup in your backyard is always a good remedy for writer’s block.