So much to be thankful for | AspenTimes.com

So much to be thankful for

Alison Berkley
Aspen, CO Colorado

So my mom decided not to use a caterer this year for Thanksgiving ” big mistake.

I show up in Steamboat on Thursday afternoon after driving three hours with a massive champagne hangover. The night before I was hanging out with some friends who were hosting a huge dinner at this fat pad where they were house sitting in the West End. I still don’t fully understand the whole house-sitting concept. I mean, houses don’t need to be walked, watered or supervised, and, as far as I can tell, most people who house sit just use it as an excuse to throw a big party.

But I digress.

So I was hanging out with these guys the night before as they stuffed mushrooms and sauteed onions in cream and prepped the bird and got everything ready for the stuffing. One friend who is a floral designer created an insanely beautiful centerpiece for the table made from fruit, flowers and fall vegetables ” very cornucopiaish. We ate pizza and drank wine and watched movies in the decked out media room in the basement.

I should have known that leaving was a bad idea.

So I walk in the door and immediately get into this big argument with my mom over potatoes.

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“I’m already making a sweet potato dish,” my mom said as she bammed and slammed her way through the kitchen.

If I’m a messy cook, she’s a loud one, crashing pots and pans and banging cabinet doors and turning on fans. I could feel the air getting thicker, not just with the scent of turkey, but with stress.

“Well, I really wanted to make this savory mashed potato recipe I found in In Style magazine,” I said. I’d even brought the magazine up to Steamboat with me, the November issue with Jessica Simpson on the cover.

I’d imagined mom and I spending the day together in the kitchen, acting like real domesticated women. Maybe we’d even wear aprons and have flour in our hair, laughing and sharing mother-daughter secrets, creating recipes that would stay in our family for generations.

That’s not exactly how it turned out.

“Well that’s too damn bad,” my mom said, talking a little too loudly over the sound of forks and knives being thrown into the sink.

“But I was really looking forward to it,” I whined, feeling oddly like I was 13 years old again. I decided to take me and my hangover over to the couch for some bad TV. That’s when Mom tried to incite me to return to the kitchen, but I wasn’t having it.

“If you want to sulk, sulk,” she said. Crash. Bam. Slam.

My dad was up in my room riding his new computerized bicycle trainer. He’s got his road bike all set up and hooked up to this whole computer system where he can track all the stats of his ride and even race against other riders and choose various courses that he can see on the screen. So essentially my room has been converted into a makeshift gym, the smell of sweat permeating everything from the carpet to my bed sheets.

My brother was there and that was the best part. He’s moving back to Costa Rica to be with his Tica chica, his amor, his fiance, the love of his life. Her work visa got declined ” one of 800 at Vail resorts that didn’t go through. No doubt the immigration thing is gonna be a long road. Maybe I’m naive, but it didn’t even occur to me that she wouldn’t be able to come here for just, like, a visit. In order for people from a Third World country to visit the U.S., they have to prove they have assets in their home country to return to. It’s amazing how we take something as simple as our U.S. citizenship for granted.

Speaking of taking things for granted, I do realize I sound like my usual bratty, whiny self, bitching about the breadless stuffing my mom made. (I mean, who does that?)

I do realize I have a lot to be thankful for, especially lately. So the week after Thanksgiving seems as good a time as any to give a few shout outs.

I’m thankful for my amazing family, my parents who are still happily married after 35 years and still put up with me after 37. (Still not sure how they manage that). I’m thankful that we’re all good friends who are interested and invested in each other’s lives. I’m thankful for my brother, who is my best friend in the whole world. He’s always been this bright light, this amazing force of nature full of life and charm. He’s the quintessential Ferris Bueller, and I’m totally the awkward older sister, all bitter with my frizzy hair and braces.

I’m thankful for my friends in Aspen who continue to listen to me rant and rave about the same stuff I’ve been talking about for the last five years I’ve lived here. I’m thankful to Tim, who is my rock, my biggest support, my most loyal true friend.

I’m thankful for Sarah, my dear old friend from high school who is like a sister to me, loving me through the toughest of times, always protective, always concerned. I’m thankful for Dina for forgiving me and Catherine for tolerating me. I’m thankful to John for knowing me as well as he does and still accepting me for who I am, and to Nate and Teal for making me part of their little family.

I’m thankful to my yoga family, to Caroline, Amanda, Kate, Ambere, Amber, Jesse and Jamie for all their love and support in helping me grow both as a student and a teacher.

That’s just the beginning, not the end of the list. I guess ultimately that’s one thing I’ve learned to be thankful for ” there is no beginning and no end. Just this amazing, beautiful life in a little town called Aspen.