Happy Thanksgiving! This is a holiday that has always been very special to me. I absolutely love my family's Thanksgiving traditions, the foods we eat, and the movies we watch. The year before last, our first year here in La Grande, was also the first year I didn't have my family's Thanksgiving (excluding one childhood year, where we celebrated at my Great-Grandma's house). This year, not only were we not planning to have Thanksgiving with my family, we also were not planning to eat with my Wife's family, who lives in town, due to COVID concerns.

So this year, our first year in the new house, is also our first year making Thanksgiving entirely on our own. Of course, like many small families dining alone this year, we could have served an alternate menu from the classics, or smaller options like just cooking a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey. But I love lots of leftovers, and traditions have been hard to continue this year, and IT'S OUR FIRST THANKSGIVING IN OUR OWN HOUSE, GODDAMMIT! So we made a whole shebang, mixing and matching personal favorites from our families' traditions, and optimizing for ease for our first time.

Our menu was solid: Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Jellied Cranberry Sauce, and a beautiful turkey. The turkey is often the most daunting part of someone's first Thanksgiving, but I had it pretty easy. I used my mom's foolproof Turkey recipe, given to her by her former boss (son of Barbara Billingsley, who played Beaver's mom on Leave it to Beaver, as well as the Jive-Talking Granny in Airplane!), and it is as easy as she always claimed it is. For any of you looking to roast a turkey worry-free, email me for the recipe: taylor@tscrog.com.

For dessert, we had a pumpkin pie that was given to us by the realtor who helped us buy our house (something she apparently does for all new clients), and then we supplemented with my mom's Peach Jello, actually a two-tier creation with peach jello on the bottom, and a peach jello/vanilla ice cream mixture on top, with banana slices throughout. I will also share this recipe, with anyone who asks! It is creamy and sweet and tart and delicious, but must be served in a clear bowl; one tragic potluck saw everyone skip my mom's jello, because they thought it was salmon mousse.

All this to say, I am especially grateful this year. I am grateful for my wife and darling children, I'm grateful for the house we live in, that we were miraculously able to buy, and I'm grateful that we are all in good health. But of course, not everyone is so lucky. In recognition of the dire straits many find themselves in right now, and the colonialist past of this holiday I love so dearly, I did make donations today to the LA Tenants' Union and to Partnership with Native Americans. It's not much; in the future I hope to do much more. But on top of everything else, I'm grateful to find myself in a position to help others. Happy Thanksgiving.