Thanksgiving 2008

I love my friends. There isn’t a word in English that clearly expresses this kind of friend. “Family of choice,” “best friends,” “fremily” are phrases I’ve heard – but I think, as a culture, Americans don’t have a good term for (or even understanding of) this kind of friendship.

We were eleven for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Some friends we’ve known since the first day of college over sixteen years ago. Another friend was over to the house for the third time ever – though I hope he’ll be back regularly and often.

Yes, the dinner was great. Yes, there was wine and dessert aplenty. But I’d say the most amazing part of the weekend was – is always – the way the group just…gels. It’s really hard to explain. There’s the love, of course. Great heaping piles of love everywhere you look. The love creates the cozy atmosphere: friends cuddled on the couch; sweeties passing kisses with the cranberry sauce; the glass of dessert cordial that circulates around the living room, savored and shared as we pile on couches, sprawl on the floor, and make noises of delight over the desserts.

The food is a manifestation of the love. “Try this – I found a farm that treats its turkeys well, and I know we all value that.” “Try this – I’ve never made it before but I put my creativity into the dish, and my trust in you that you would appreciate the flavor and the effort.” “Try this – there were dozens of desserts, and I picked this one because it had wonderful ingredients and a light texture to complement the other dishes and it looked beautiful, too.” “Try this – it’s utterly decadent!” “Sit down – we’ll take care of the cleanup. Thank you for the cooking all of you did.”

What else? Conversation, of course. Witty, often irreverent, and rarely does one meaning suffice for a phrase. And silliness. And well-informed debate. And reference questions (honestly, it’s rare that this group gets together and doesn’t pull out one or more reference books or web sites…). And smiling ’til your face hurts, and laughing until you have a stitch in your side.

It’s all just so…us. I like us.

And for that, I never stop giving thanks.

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2 Comments

  1. Oldnovice said,

    November 30, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I think you’ve described the comfort factor we all feel when with folks who have been our friends for years or WILL be our friends for years. With other people, a visit of 2 hours would seem too long, but with our friends, a visit of 12 hours is way too short.

  2. Jen in MI said,

    November 30, 2008 at 10:22 am

    It sounds lovely, Emily. I’m glad you had such a nice time!


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