Last Thursday felt very strange to me. I’ve spent Thanksgiving many different ways over the years: at home or at others’ homes, with people I know well and people I don’t, with small groups and large. Most years in the past two decades I’ve prepared entire feasts singlehandedly, though sometimes I had help and there a few in which I returned to the custom of my younger adult years by preparing only one dish to bring to a larger, collaborative feast. But this was, I think, the first year since the ’80s that I didn’t cook at all. Not a casserole, not a pie, not anything, and though the company was good I couldn’t help but feel very weird and more than a little forlorn. Cooking is one of the ways I show love, and though most days since I came to Seattle I only have myself to cook for, I still managed to do one dish for Thanksgiving, a whole feast for Christmas and a mini-feast for New Year’s Day last year. I don’t think I care to repeat this no-cooking thing; there will be a feast for Christmas! Grace will be here and we’ll have some friends over. And it’ll be lovely and festive and not-weird.
Speaking of Grace, it was 19 years ago last week that we first met, which is coincidentally the same week my mother and I last spoke. Well, really not so coincidentally; they both resulted from the same event, my starting stripping the last week of September, 1997. As I’ve explained before, my mother and I had been arguing about it for weeks, and just a few days before Thanksgiving she told me I wasn’t welcome and that she wouldn’t be speaking to me any more. That same week I was invited to a party at Dr. Helena’s, and there met Grace for the first time. So I guess cue trite sayings about gods opening and closing doors and windows and such.
On a more positive note, I want to remind all those who may have missed Friday’s column of my “Toys for Tots” special: until Friday, December 16th, anyone who books with me for at least an hour at my normal rate and brings new, unwrapped toys will receive an extra 10 minutes per toy (maximum 60 extra minutes for 6 toys). For just one short trip to a toy store or big-box store and a modest expenditure, you can double your time with me and bring joy to a needy child who might otherwise be cheated of a holiday gift. If you don’t want a date but would like to meet me, for $100 and three toys I will have an hour-long coffee meeting with you anywhere in the Seattle area. And if you don’t live near me, I’ll even extend that deal via telephone or Google Hangouts to anyone who will PayPal the donation & drop-ship me the toys via Amazon (I’ll add whatever you want to buy to my wishlist & you can immediately buy it). It’s really a great offer, so please help me show some love to needy kids while giving yourself a gift at the same time!