Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday in Charlottesville

Our Thanksgiving was lovely, although if you saw my panicked Facebook and twitter updates, you might have gotten the impression I've never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before.  It has actually been my responsibility every year since I was in my twenties and my mother died.

This year, the main difficulty was I had no time to do much advance preparation.  Add to that the fact that I overslept by two hours on Thanksgiving, and the cooking got off to a very late start indeed.  It seemed we wouldn't be sitting down until midnight, but in the end, dinner was served at 8:00pm.  The menu:  roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, mashed potatoes, "golden winter puree," bacon-wrapped green beans, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, maple cheesecake with maple-cranberry compote.  All of this was made 100% from scratch, with the help of Seamus.  After all that, we sat down at the table and Jon said, "Where's the gravy?"  I could have punched him.  The problem with gravy is that you have to make it after the turkey is finished.  You're tired, you feel like this meal should be done already, but OH NO, you have to stand over the roasting pan and labor over a revolting concoction of fat and meat juices.

At least we were all together for the holiday.  That's Seamus in front, on Brigid's lap.  The back row is me, Grace, Jon, & Ian.

I actually shopped a little on Black Friday.  I went downtown, which was crowded with out-of-towners.  How could I tell they were from out of town? Charlottesville people, surely you too are able to immediately identify who is local and who is not.  Perhaps because local people don't tend to stand like statues in front of crosswalk buttons.  And we're not likely to exclaim,  "Oh look!  They have...." while gazing slack-jawed in shop windows.  I shouldn't be uncharitable, after all I have been a tourist myself in many places, but it would be NICE to be able to go downtown on the weekend without it being overrun with people who are here because they read in The Washington Post that C'ville is a good place for a day trip.  You just want to buy stamps or pick up a prescription and you have to run an obstacle course of people who want to stop and take photographs directly in front of you and who take up ALL the restaurant tables.  I know there are advantages to living in a place that attracts people, but it's irritating all the same.  At any rate, I did officially buy two Christmas presents at local businesses.  Every year I think I will start shopping early and I never manage to buy gift one until after Thanksgiving, and sometimes I don't start shopping until well into the middle of December.

Yesterday I put Ian on a plane back to New York.  At the airport was another college student and his parents who were literally weeping as he left them.  I felt like crying a little too, even though Ian will be back home in three weeks for the Christmas break.  Later I drove Brigid to her school in Richmond. And so our holiday weekend has come to an end.


  1. Lovely family photo. I'm glad you had a great weekend.

    I stayed away from downtown because I figured it would be overrun with people in town for the football game and I did not want to deal with that mess.

  2. That is a great photo --you three women have beautiful smiles.

    I used to feel this way about downtown when I lived in Ann Arbor, MI. Now I live outside of an incredibly bad, used-to-be-manufacturing town, and I'd gladly put up with crowds of out-of-towners to have access to what drew them to Ann Arbor in the first place.

    But we never went downtown on a home-game weekend :-)

  3. Your gang has great smiles.
    I'm glad the holiday went well, even IF you made the gravy last (hahaha).