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Celebrate food, friends, family this Thanksgiving

November 21, 2012


If anyone needs to reach me on Thursday, he or she will be severely out of luck.

Thanks to my favorite holiday, I will be curled up on the bed in my childhood home resting in what can only be described as a "food coma." While my unresponsiveness may indicate I have passed on to my eternal home, I promise I am still very much alive and will return to the world of the living just in time to gorge myself on Thanksgiving leftovers Thursday evening.

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year. Although Mississippi always experiences bi-polar weather patterns this time of year, Thanksgiving encompasses the best of the fall season — leaves changing color, crisp nights and wonderful comfort food that becomes menu staples. Most of all, however, Thanksgiving has always meant time with family. A time to gather around a table, catch up and savor dishes from the family cookbook, both old and new.

Every Thanksgiving I am a glutton for the delicious punishment my family presents on a plate.

My mother and I started a tradition years ago where we prepare the turkey on Thanksgiving Eve.

(Yes, there is a Thanksgiving Eve in my book).

While the Zodiac chart states an Aquarius and a Scorpio are grossly opposed to one another, my mother and I make a pretty fine turkey team. Also, because we both apparently live in a Disney movie, we named the turkey Tom and will talk to him during the preparation process. Weird? Sure. Entertaining? Just ask my father.

I cannot remember where mother and I found the turkey recipe, but I am so glad we did. While every home will boast its turkey the best on the block, Holly and I actually can claim the top prize. Not to be childish, but my mom's turkey can totally beat up your mom's turkey. I understand household traditions, but if you are looking for a way to shake your Thanksgiving turkey recipe, give Tom a try.

Watching both of my parents in the kitchen growing up has made so appreciative of the time I get to spend cooking alongside them now that my culinary skills reach beyond microwaving macaroni and cheese.

This holiday also makes us focus on what we are thankful for in our everyday lives. While I try and remember to be thankful for the blessings and comforts I have in my life, Thanksgiving represents a culmination of the things and people that enrich my life. There has been a recent internet trend of digitally-savvy web-users taking to social media — Facebook, Twitter, etc. — and posting something they are thankful for each day in November. I'm a few weeks behind, but here are the things for which I am thankful:

— My friends: I have been blessed in this life to find people who share the same humor and joy for life as I do. My friends are like a blanket. They keep me warm when the world gets cold and when I need them the most, they are only an arms length away.

— My family: The Cranes can bicker and battle with the best, but I have never doubted in my 24 years on this earth that a core group of people connected by blood and marriage will cease to have my back when times get tough. Plus, they are even better when times are wonderful. We have a family motto that says, "We don't leave our people." This simple phrase helps me sleep at night, and casts a security net when get out of bed each morning.

— My Starkville: I have a fantastic Starkville. Thanks to this job, I get to meet and talk with so many wonderful residents of the town I now call home. I have a university filled with mentors and friends that shaped the man I am today. I have co-workers who make me laugh on a daily basis, even when deadline is approaching and the phone will not stop ringing. And, I have a theatre that allows me the gift of exercising my true passion in this life with the added bonus of developing a true second family.

My charge to you, dear readers, is to make the most of this wonderful holiday. On Thursday, cherish the positive people and things in your life with every fiber of your being; think back on the bad things only long enough to appreciate how far you've come since then; and remember that no matter what, someone out there loves you and wants nothing but the best for you, even if that just happens to be me.

Happy Thanksgiving, Starkville.

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