Thursday, November 25, 2010

Brooklyn Thankful

This Thanksgiving is one of firsts. My first Thanksgiving in my own home- and my first as head (and only) cook.  My first Thanksgiving outside of New Jersey- first in my new home, New York City. My first Thanksgiving with Michael as an engaged couple. My first Thanksgiving without my mom.

Like most of this wedding planning process, it’s bittersweet. But I’m making an effort to be positive.  It is nice to be in my own living room with just Mike and my sister (and her crazy dog)- my family, version 2.0. And yesterday, waiting in line for our turkey, I got to feel like part of the family in my new home since 2007- Brooklyn.
Since I was cooking for the very first time (more on this later), and also making new traditions, I decided to both give myself a break and try something different- a fried turkey from Jive Turkey in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Yesterday, on line (for 4 hours, in 40 degree weather) freezing for fried fowl (thanks Amy!) there were people from every borough, upstate, New Jersey and New York. But mostly there were fellow Brooklynites.
Everyone knows the camaraderie that can grow in a slow-moving line with like minded people- or just those in the same boat as you. Whether you’re enthusing over the recent set lists of a favorite band while camping out for concert tickets, or ruing the consistently terrible service at the DMV, waiting in lines forges fleeting friendships, especially when uniting against a cause.
Yesterday, we railed against the cold, took issue with the reservation policy and eyed potential line jumpers warily. We also compared notes on Thanksgiving plans, and shared nips of brandy offered by a fellow freezing for fried fowl friend. A young man who ran out to get a turkey at his mom’s behest spent the 4 cold hours in line wearing just a sweat shirt and basketball shorts. Understandably, we held his place while he periodically slipped into his car to warm up. Later he let two similarly underdressed girls (one in flip flops) huddle in the back seat for awhile. The girls had entertained us with choreographed dance routines they performed while listening to a shared iPod, in the hope that movement would warm them up. We owed them.

Shorts guy talking to dancer girls while brandy man plays scrabble online.
The refrain of ‘this better be the best damn turkey in the world’ was muttered by everyone at least once. But any time a passerby would stop to ask what was going on, each person would proudly state their current wait time, defend their dedication and declare Jive Turkey’s vast superiority to anything you could make at home.  When my group finally got inside and prepared to leave with our orders, goodbyes were said, even some hugs. Outside, the groups behind us cheered when we walked by with our shopping bags full of dinner, finally victorious.

I made it home, toes frozen, and collapsed dramatically on the floor inside my apartment. Mike and my sister had driven by, about two hours in, to deliver me a hat and gloves, and knew what I’d just been through to secure the centerpiece of our dinner. They had a glass of champagne already poured and waiting for me, and a pizza on it’s way.
Which, I must say, is the very best way to show you’re thankful.

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