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Giving Thanks for Simplicity


Anything in my (slightly ADD-ish) life which is done too regularly and traditionally becomes drudgery. I thrive on change and variety…I’m the one you know whose furniture, art and bookshelves are arranged completely differently every time you visit. Simple traditions like annual get togethers with the obligatory attendance, covered dish and cute (original, fun, slightly expensive, agonized over) gift exchange article get under my skin and bear what becomes a near resentment that begins to arise sometime in late August, peaking at near panic by the end of October. Exaggeration? Only by a slight millionth of a particle. Over dramatized? Mmmm, moving on….

So our first 3 years of marriage, I did my best to achieve housewifely perfection with the likes of Gruyere cheese stuffed squash, homemade orange-cranberry sauce, cream cheese and chive mashed potatoes,  and orange rosemary roasted turkey. Imagine a 3 dish oven bursting with 6 casserole dishes angled precariously on top of each other in an attempt to warm all thoroughly to perfection at the same moment in time when “dinner is served!” The unforgettable moments like “apparently-marshmallows-can’t-be-that-close-to-the-broiler” and cold maple glazed carrots and nearly burned green bean casserole. Then there’s the “oh-no-we-forgot-pumpkin-pie!” and the “let’s-cheat-and-buy-frozen-dinner-rolls-and-then-forget-to-thaw-them” incidents. All in all, we all know that getting a multi-course dinner on the table for hungry

This year two mobile toddlers are loose in my house. The recollection of our dog hounding my every step, snapping up the drippings from my fumbling attempts to rotate the aforementioned casserole dishes in a near futile attempt to warm the rolls without covering the balsamic glazed root vegetables completely. That’s as far of a thought into this year’s Thanksgiving feast preparations as I got.

I looked into catering or nearby restaurants, but even Ryan’s promise of a $10.29 Thanksgiving dinner was a little less than appealing. I like to simplify, but not at the sacrifice of the best meal of the year, eh?

Randomly, I came across the motherlode tip: Georgia’s own azalea museum, the presenter of one of the state’s most festive Christmas lights display and the remote location far from the millions of hungry Atlantans searching for a respite from the treacherous preparations of feast-making…also serves Thanksgiving dinner in each of their 3 restaurants. Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain is going to feed us assorted cheeses and fruit, stuffing and cranberry sauce, turkey and ham, rolls and pies and “all the fixin’s” for $26 each (up to $37). Not only will I save hours of exhaustive coordination, shopping, preparation, cooking (and balancing) and clean-up, I will save a little money. Granted I don’t skimp on food – cutting grocery budget is my last resort for extra cash. Give you a hint: 7 Thanksgivers was $280 once. Additionally, because we’ll be paying the $25 to get in, we’ll be enjoying a day at the gardens, the buffet feast, and (as of Nov. 19) the Festival of Lights that evening. All for less than I spent on Thanksgiving last year.

Skipping tradition? Not really – I’m adding to it. Next year, if and when we go for the home-homemade feast of delights, it won’t feel nearly as tiresome. We’ll have a great day of memories and instead of fanning the fumes from burnt marshmallows and crunching on nearly raw glazed carrots, we’ll be enjoying our jaunt to Pine Mountain. Yet another blessing to be thankful for, and one I appreciate more each year: simplicity.

H A P P Y    T H A N K S G I V I N G !

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