Around countless Thanksgiving tables this week, people will take turns giving examples of why they feel blessed. Most of them will make mention of God, family and country. Some will reference their jobs, while others will note their health.
No person over the age of 10, however, will go into detail.
Indeed, I’m thankful for our children — especially when they are asleep or at school. I’m also married to the most patient understanding woman in the world. Not to mention, she looks fantastic without makeup and gives a great pedicure. Who wouldn’t feel beholden?
Still, when I wake up each morning, the first thing I think about is whether my chinos are ironed. When they are, I’m truly thankful. When our children are ready for school — and I’m not signing papers while driving through a school zone — I’m really appreciative.
I’m quite content when I’m not running a taxi service between twirling practice, robotics club, band rehearsals and drama rehearsal (like my daughter really needs drama practice). I believe I’ll be most gratified though if, during the holidays, our children also realize that it’s supposed to be a rest period for us adults too.
Want to see what being thankful really looks like? Come see me on any Sunday during the school year — also a supposed day of rest — on which I haven’t just learned about a major project being due the following morning.
I’ve found myself lately also being thankful for empty trash cans and being able to breathe in my home without inhaling a vinegar fly — because someone left a half-eaten apple on a credenza or hidden behind a couch. Of course, this is only due to my regular searches and emptying of said trash cans.
I feel almost indebted to my grandson when I sit to watch a movie in the red room (our living room) and neither images from ‘Mike the Knight’ nor ‘Power Rangers’ are burned into the large screen. Seriously. When I can watch something in high definition (a rarity) and not catch glimpses of Barney or Dora on the same screen as Mr. Blonde, Mr. Orange and the gasoline can, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.
I’m also very thankful any day that I pull into our driveway and don’t see someone’s bicycle blocking my path; or smell burned popcorn as I walk through the door.
The little things
I’ve come to really appreciate my new hiding place. It’s where I keep my Lemonheads, spare change, blue ink pens and hair brush. I’m working on a larger space for things like tortilla chips and Big Cheez-Its.
I’m also thankful to the farmers who grow extremely hot peppers. I went away from them for years, in deference to my mild-mouthed family. But I recently incorporated them into the jar of dill pickles on my kitchen counter and, to my pleasant surprise, no one touches my jar. I’m considering adding hot peppers to other things that I don’t want disappearing.
Two hours went by this morning without a child asking me to spend hundreds of dollars on something. Such an unusual occurrence is something I’m really grateful for … especially since our current budget is geared more toward the December holiday and new tires for the family taxi.
And for that, my children should be very thankful. (We’ll see what they say on Thursday.)
I’m thankful that I have a choice of what to eat this Thursday. Instead of the traditional turkey, I’ll be feasting on a boneless whole chicken stuffed with jalapeno crawfish cornbread dressing from Hebert’s. We’ll all eat pumpkin pie, since my version is the best in the history of Thanksgiving. On the day after, while everyone else is eating turkey & dressing sandwiches, I’ll be gobbling up fish tacos.
1 lb. – Flaky white fish fillets (such as cod, grouper or tilapia)
2 tsp. – Chile powder (preferably ancho)
½ tsp. – Dried cumin
¼ tsp. – Dried coriander
¼ cup – Vegetable oil
Juice from small lime
Kosher salt to taste
Combine chile powder, cumin, coriander, lime juice and vegetable oil. Coat both sides of fish fillets and allow to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
Heat a large skillet to medium-high and add fillets. Cook 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and cook 1-2 minutes on the other. (These instructions are based on half-inch thick fillets. You might need to cook fish more or less, depending on thickness.) Remove fish from skillet, flake with a fork. Season to taste with Kosher salt.
Serve in warmed corn (pictured) or flour tortillas with:
- Finely chopped cabbage
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Sour cream (or mayonnaise)
- Salsa roja or verde
- Pico de gallo
- Avocado slices
- Shredded Queso Quesadilla
- Lime wedges