Thanksgiving on the Tundra!

Minnesota is a long way from Bali, geographically, aesthetically, climatically, and philosophically. But it’s Thanksgiving, and my family made plans to come from the east coast, west coast, and Midwest to gather in Palisade, 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of the Canadian border, to be together.

I couldn’t miss that. Even though I made a vow never to return to Minnesota in the winter, Dad’s 93 and Mom’s 87 and there may not be too many more opportunities like this one.

I was the first to land in Minneapolis. Jessa and Dan’s cozy apartment felt like an oasis of comfort after thirty hours of travel. The next day Jenny and Kennen arrived from San Fransisco, and fast on their heels Joy and Kellen flew in from New York. We caravaned in two cars and converged at The Farm, my sister and brother-in-law’s home that is no longer a working farm, just a big house surrounded by nothing, thirty miles from nowhere, to bask in the warmth of family love.

Sis and bro had outfitted their huge loft, bunkhouse style, so the couples and I could all sleep comfortably, and somewhat privately, in that space. By the third night we knew the breathing patterns and little animal sounds of each sleeper. We also knew to stop the pendulum on the obnoxious clock at the bottom of the stairs.

By the time we rolled out of bed Thanksgiving morning, sis and bro were already into their 3rd cups of coffee and half-way through the New York Times crossword puzzle. A quick pow-wow and we received our marching orders. Joy had promised to make her from scratch French Onion Soup for lunch. P1100644

P1100643 The Gruyere, browned to perfection, the chunks of baguette dripping with rich broth, and onions sliced and sauteed to a transparent gold, set the stage for a day of feasting excellence.

Jenny had grandma time.

P1100659Then grandma, Jessa, and Jenny helped grandpa get settled at the table for lunch.

P1100640Mid afternoon someone suggested that we should have pie and coffee now. “We’re always too full after the big meal,” he said…I’m sure it was a he. At around 3 p.m. Gwen’s pumpkin, apple, and French silk pies appeared and we ate melt-in-your-mouth tender crusts with gooey fillings, groaning with pleasure.

After pie, everyone pitched in: many hands make light work! There was a harried hour of napkin folding, the artichoke, the pocket, the turkey tail until sis stepped in and said, “It’s like this…” and so it was, exactly like that, perfect pockets for lunch and perfect turkey tails for Thanksgiving dinner.


THANKSGIVINGMy sister and my daughters are blessed with the cooking gene that skipped me. It was a gourmet Thanksgiving, Jenny’s beet salad with grapefruit, fresh basil, and feta cheese, Joy’s Butternut squash with sage hazelnut pesto, Jessa’s pureed cauliflower with garlic as a savory mashed potato substitute, and sis with three kinds of cranberries, traditional roast turkey and stuffing. Of course there were all the wines, beers, ales, and ciders to enhance the mood (that didn’t need enhancing) and accompany whatever food was being served.

And then it was over, too soon.

P1100670The girls and their guys loaded the cars and headed back to Minneapolis leaving me behind to spend a few more days with my parents, sis, and bro-in-law in the frozen tundra of the far north country.


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diane Struble
    Nov 29, 2015 @ 22:22:40

    Thanks for the pictures and reporting. I hear that your after-dinner walk lasted about 3 seconds before you retreated back to the house. Conditioning is everything. Happy to hear that you were home and that all of the girls were able to get together. You come from a family of great cooks and I know that you share some of that inspite of your protestations to the contrary. No place like home for the holidays.



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Nov 30, 2015 @ 16:35:52

      Yes, Di, my walking was cut very short. I couldn’t believe how cold it was out there and I turned tail and RAN back to the house! But you’re wrong about the cooking. I’ve never enjoyed it and I’m really terrible!



  2. healingpilgrim
    Nov 29, 2015 @ 22:42:30

    Proof positive that sometimes you get the best kind of lovin’ – warmth, sleep and nibbles – when you’re in the deepest, furthest reaches of tundra!



  3. sageblessings
    Nov 29, 2015 @ 22:52:10

    I’m so happy to hear you’ve had such a lovely time so far…..and delicious as well. Good family time is very hard to beat.



  4. Alexsandra Trevor
    Nov 29, 2015 @ 23:53:00

    Sounds like a wonderful family time.



  5. Karin Grouf
    Nov 30, 2015 @ 00:28:35

    proud of you . These are the moments you’ll never forget and you bit the bullet.Kudos!!!!



  6. Susan Wiste
    Nov 30, 2015 @ 11:22:05

    I live in Duluth, Minnesota and experienced lovely weather for Thanksgiving here. The temperatures have been into the 40’s F until yesterday (Nov 29) and we consider that far from frozen! I am glad you had a great visit.



  7. Lottie Nevin
    Nov 30, 2015 @ 16:46:05

    Absolutely perfect. How wonderful to spend time with your family xx



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