Thanksgiving at Melissa’s

Carole & I usually go to Ottawa to one of our favorite restaurants on Thanksgiving. Yes, there is a bit of irony, which we cultivate, surrounding leaving the US to celebrate a US holiday. I have no family I'd much want to associate with in any case & Carole's family members live on the West coast, a long trip for an extended weekend. Most of our academic pals go hang out with their families, so we have made a virtue of our disconnectedness by having a nice meal out. The sweet potato frites at the Black Dog Cafe are out of this world -- & sweet potatoes are traditional on the day! But this year Carole's colleague Melissa invited us & a couple of other rootless souls over to her house for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. It worked out nicely since we had freezing rain, then snow overnight, which would have made a trip to Ottawa difficult if not impossible. Well, traditional except for the vegetarian spring rolls I made as an appetizer. Carole made a co-appetizer of smoked trout sour cream dip with crackers. Mark brought the wine, Dorothy brought a chocolate mouse & a cranberry-orange sauce for the Turkey, which was perfectly cooked by Melissa, who also baked limpa bread. Alexa made mashed sweet potatoes & little cheesecakes for a second desert. Perfect meal, lovely. After dinner we played cards -- a game I was unfamiliar with, but which Melissa, daughter of an Anglican priest, grew up playing. When she was little, she said, they had to call it Oh, Heck! even though everyone knew its real name was Oh, Hell! or Shit-on-Your-Neighbor. (We played a two-deck version, otherwise the same as the game described in the link.) I didn't play very well, so in revenge I'll have to have Melissa over to play Hearts. I'm not actually a great Hearts player, but at least I know the strategies. For a bunch of loose ends, we made a fine meal & had a good time.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.