My birthday has a habit of falling on, or around, Thanksgiving. When I was born it was actually Thanksgiving, and my parents had plans to watch a movie in D.C. and then I think they were going to go have dinner at J.'s. It turned out that my mother went into labor before they could watch the movie, though her experience of having her water break was so underwhelming to her she wondered if they couldn't go watch the movie and then do the whole hospital thing. The story goes that my father had at least two Thanksgiving dinners that night. Maybe three. In the years that followed we almost always went to J.'s for Thanksgiving, and that remained true until around my 19th year when my parents moved away from Maryland. I have many a memory of J.'s house on Capitol Hill and the long table chock full of turkey, gravy, leeks, etc etc. But it had been at least 10 years since I'd visited the house. We went down that way on the afternoon of my birthday to catch up with J., her kids S. and J., as well as J.'s wife, their two kids and his mother in law. I had seen M. the eldest of the kids, when he was no bigger than a bread box, but I had never met S. J. put together a lovely spread of pork loin, brussels sprouts and salad.
I had a sense of deja vu when I saw the bowl that the salad was served in, as it was the same bowl that my mother also used for salads. I commented on this to J. and it turned out that a hundred years ago they both went shopping together and bought the same bowl. This was similarly true of the flatware used for the food, the same winter pattern that my mother also had.
J.'s back yard looked strangely larger than I thought of it as a kid.
M. had a way with climbing.
There was even a cake in celebration of my big 3-0. Coconut. Mmm.
People singing happy birthday while I pretend it's no big deal and take photographs.
It was great to catch up with these folks who were such a constant in my early years. While we didn't see each other so often, the regularity of Thanksgiving - and some Christmases at our place - did result in my having a sense of belonging, even after such a long break. Thanks to our hostess and her family for a wonderful afternoon.