We’ve barely heard the last Fourth of July firecracker before the stores are putting out plastic pumpkins and Halloween costumes and lining the aisles with Christmas tinsel and silk greenery. I have to fight the urge to stand at the Customer Service desk, and in a paint-peeling scream yell, “What in the name of these holidays happened to November?”
November’s my very favorite month of the year. How could anyone just skip it? Brisk mornings, sun-warmed afternoons, autumnal colors? I crave apples dipped in warm caramel and the smell of pumpkin spice. I steep my afternoon cup of tea with one drop each of cinnamon, cloves, and orange essential oils. Now I admit that I’ve already watched a couple of Christmas movies which started in October, but the Thanksgiving-foods-with-a-new-twist cooking shows have been my November staples.
I’ve printed out at least a dozen new recipes—stuffings, bread pudding dressing, honey-orange-glazed carrots, and a savory squash medley . But truth be known, none of those will find their way to our Thanksgiving table. I thought about it, even made out a shopping list, but it just won’t work. My turkey carcass will never know what it’s like to be stuffed with bread and sausage because we’ll still be eating that buttery cornbread dressing, crunchy with celery and seasoned with green onion. The glazed carrots will never replace my sweet potato casserole with its corn flakes-brown sugar-pecan topping. And Kale, I may put you in a bean soup in January, or in a spring salad, or roast you into chips in the summer, but you will not find yourself unseating the bacon-seasoned collards. I apologize to the Barefoot Contessa, but her spice cake with lemon whipped cream, as good as it might be with tea in December, will not find its way to my table. There’d be an uprising if the praline pecan pumpkin pie didn’t show up. These foods are our comforting, predictable, and oh-so delicious family traditions.
Seems that November brings with it a lot of food talk and tastings. But more important than what’s on the table is whose feet are under it. Who’s the one who smiles, takes the last homemade yeast roll, pulls it apart, and hands you half? And then there’s the whole giving thanks theme. But each and every day is Thanksgiving at our house, and I hope it is at yours.
How can I not be thankful to the One who made November, the One who thought of me before I existed, who gave me life, gives me purpose, and the One who says, “I love you so much that I want you to live forever with me, and here’s what I’ll do to show you!”? I know that heaven will be more and better than we can even imagine, but I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that it will be like a never-ending November with all its warm feelings, family, and food.
But for here and now, November has a few more days, and I intend to savor every moment and every morsel, for I know January’s coming. Those warm autumnal colors will be past, and the winter will bring its own color pallette. The valley floor will be carpeted with frost, the distant hills will be gray-washed, and I’ll be sitting in my cuddle chair, wrapped in my favorite throw with my laptop computer perched on my knees still editing Chapter Nineteen. I’ll be sipping spiced tea and maybe nibbling on what’s left of my homemade fruitcake. And every once in a while, I’ll look up and glance out the window to see those neutral tones of winter, but they will not make me pine for May. I’ll be remembering November.