A Day of Thanks

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Scenes from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photos: Paige Peterson.

Friday, November 23, 2018. The Day after Thanksgiving.

It was cold in New York with temps dropping from the 20s in daytime and into the teens at night. One of the weather forecasters said it was the coldest Thanksgiving in 150 years.

Growing up in New England I don’t remember a Thankgiving that wasn’t cold. Although that was before every house had central heating. How it is similar to today in New York is: the town was quiet. A kind of peaceful quiet. The streets and avenues were barely traveled. It’s the only family holiday in America that’s not in some way religious. It’s simply commemorative in nature, and while the Pilgrims celebrated their actual physical survival, we celebrate our diets. And it’s been that way for generations.

That’s the way it was when I was a kid, and it continued to be a “family” meal forever after. But more than just a meal, it is memorable in our senses, with personal meaning.

I spent the day as a guest of my friend Joy Ingham who was hosting her family, son with wife and children; daughter with children now hitting the grown up stage, and another family friend of her daughter. Everyone at the same table. Last year Joy’s other daughter, who has young sons, was there with her husband and their four boys. So there were two tables.

The table as we are all just about to sit down.

The menu.

Canapes:Pigs in a Blanket” with Spicy Mustard Sauce; Vegetable Crudities with Herb Buttermilk Sauce and Hummus; Shrimp Skewers with Spicy Remoulade; Tuna Tartar with Cucumber & Soy; Salmon Cucumber; Spanakopita.

Dinner: Roast Turkey with Traditional Stuffing; Rich Turkey Giblet Gravy; Homemade Canberry Sauce with Orange; Tinned Stle Cranberry Jelly; Sausage & Chestnut Stuffing; Creamy Mashed Potatoes; Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Bacon.

Dessert: Pumpkin Pie, Whipped Cream, Ice Cream.

Besides her menu and its quality (i.e. you want more!), Joy always decorates (again, the commemoration) the table, and includes specifically, all kinds of favors that the younger kids love to unwrap, unravel and amuse themselves with. Joy’s table is impeccable at the outset and eventually takes on the down-home family but thanks to all those favors unwrapped, unraveled and having amused briefly. Real life with good vibes all around. A moment of good fortune for all. And gratitude.

The place setting. The place card is tied onto a small pumpkin that has been glazed and painted. The colored bird is chocolate. The turquoise ball with the gold turkey on it is one of the “surprises” that the youngest guests unravel to discover what’s inside.
Centerpiece of glazed pumpkins and squashes and corn.
My place “pumpkin.”
Dessert begins.
Pumpkin and apple pies with ice cream and whipped cream. Enough!

Meanwhile, the irrepressible Paige Peterson expanded her day beginning the night before at her apartment on Central Park West — where just beneath her apartment on the boulevard, they assemble and line up the floats for the Macy’s Day Parade. It’s an annual tradition in the neighborhood. Paige always hosts a party of friends to celebrate the event.

The bright lights out the living room window were lighting the floats out on Central Park West.
Heidi Paige Geist and Imogen Lloyd Webber.
L to R.: Jane Friedman and Steve Rubin.; Kate Yellin and Paige Peterson.
Christy Ferer with Kate with David Lewis.
L to R.: Caroline Zapf, John Josephson, and Joe Geist.; Lisa Schultz and Richard Conway.
Madison Duree and Jalena Jampolsky.
The Del Castillo family.
Matias del Castillo and Djouliet Amara.
Lisa Schultz and Edi Kornel.
Ghassan Abdul Karim and Cheri Kaufman.
Eric Alterman and Stephen F. Cohen.
Joe and Devon Geist with Jeff Sharp and his son Jack.
Kate Yellin and Michael Heumann.
Jeff Sharp, Dr. Doug Steinbrech, and Joe Geist.
Brianna and Kylee Geist with their aunt Paige
Bill Sclight, Anna Frankl-Duval, and Dontonio Demarco.
Paige whispering to her great-niece, Brianna Geist, while the guests sang with David Lewis at the piano.
L to R.: Paige with David Lewis at the piano.; Dancing the night away.

Then, after cocktail time, later in the evening, Paige goes down to the boulevard and with her camera begins to record the scene. It’s a neighborhood event, a local tradition to turn out to watch. Large crowds often with their kids of all ages. It’s a very sentimental event, like the notion of Thanksgiving in America. It’s fascinating, it’s sweet, and it’s something GOOD to think about.

Now that you know what I think, Paige then goes out/went out first thing Thursday morning, with her camera, to watch the Macy’s Day Parade get going. Paige always gives a greater view of the fantastic parade of joy, kitsch, imagination and something for the kids’ spirits. However, this year, she was “kicked off the street twice,” but added, “I got a hundred pics before it started happening.” We will have those for you on Monday.

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