I love Thanksgiving. Before my son was born, it was my favorite holiday. For a non gift-giving holiday, this one has so many of its own gifts; family, friends, football, and feasts.
While it still ranks at the top of my holiday list, let’s face it, Christmas rocks when you have a toddler! In our house Thanksgiving through New Year’s has become one big holiday.
I love the smells of Thanksgiving – pumpkin pies, turkey, gravy, stuffing, fresh bread rolls and mashed potatoes. There’s something special about sharing a feast with family and friends.
Thanksgiving is about memories – remembering who we were, who we are, who we want to be; and for being grateful for all we have in our lives.
As much as I love having a home, cooking and celebrating with everyone, I have wonderful memories of Thanksgiving from the road as well.
And a few not so wonderful ones….
One Thanksgiving Day, I had to play a gig in Spokane. We had to play that night and all the restaurants were closed except for a Chinese one. I thought, “well at least I have my band”. I called my family and felt pretty sad, but decided to make it as much of fun as possible. After the usual goofing and craziness that only comes from being in a band family, I decided to go back to the hotel and get ready for the show. Within the hour I began to get so sick that I had to go to the hospital where they announced I had food poisoning. Nice.
Ok… let’s move on to a more pleasant memory.
On Thanksgiving in 2000, I had flown my mom down to Los Angeles and was planning a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at our new home. We received an invitation from Jay Leno asking us if I would be willing to perform on The Tonight Show on Thanksgiving Day. Not much debate went on, after all it was the Tonight Show, but secretly I was a little sad that we wouldn’t be spending our first Thanksgiving in our new house with my mom. What happened after sound check was really cool and unexpected. We were invited us to join Jay Leno’s staff for a Thanksgiving Dinner, right there in the studios. It was so nice seeing all the producers, stagehands, crews together with their families. They really did seem like a big family. The best part was another total surprise. Jay Leno came over to our table and had dinner with my mom and me. It was so cool to just hang and talk outside of the show. My mom and Jay really hit it off. My mom can talk with anyone about anything, but I thought, “Maybe she will be star-struck this time. After all it is Jay Leno”. No way! My next thought was, “Wow Jay is really going beyond the call of duty”, but then I realized that Jay was authentically enjoying himself and the two of them seemed like old friends, sharing stories of each others lives.
Listening to my mom being so smart and witty and watching her enjoying herself without an ounce of self-consciousness, made me proud and grateful. She truly enjoys life. That day I became so aware and so grateful that she has passed that gift on to me.
No Thanksgiving memory would be complete without the greatest one of all. In 2002 my husband I were married at our home on Thanksgiving
Day. It was beyond magical with our closest friends and family, together with us as we shared our vows, followed by a magnificent feast, dancing, toasts, gratitude and love. It was so thick with love that you felt drugged...or maybe it was the tryptophan from the turkey. Nothing has ever compared to that Thanksgiving Day and we haven’t celebrated it in our home since. But as we approach our fifth wedding anniversary and start gearing up for Christmas I am starting to get those warm fuzzy feelings again and hey who knows I might even fire up the oven and roast a turkey and bake a pie or two!