Most people want to be with their families on Thanksgiving. My parents came out last week and we had a number of nice meals, even one that I cooked up with mashed potatoes, broccoli, fruit salad and apple pie. That felt nice, but the newsroom feast takes the cake… or the pie, in this case.
Journalists love food. We’d all be obese… if we could afford to buy as much food as we’d like to. Or maybe if we could afford it, we wouldn’t be as drawn to every event promising free grub. So, Thanksgiving is a fine holiday to spend in a newsroom.
I missed the official pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner in the newsroom because it was while my parents were in town. From what I heard (and saw in the leftovers) it was a full meal with turkey, potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry stuff, etc. Our press guy and IT guy cooked the turkeys, and the other stuff just magically appeared.
I also missed the Thanksgiving gift basket from one of our biggest advertisers, which I hear had chocolates, crackers and cheeses. Alas, by working nights, I miss the food that arrives during the day.
And, I skipped the official “Community Thanksgiving.” About 500 people show up to the Community Center at about noon on Thanksgiving to eat donated food and meet new people. I like people, but Thanksgiving is about being with friends and family, and sitting with strangers and explaining why I don’t eat turkey, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole or cranberry sauce doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy. It makes me feel weird. Plus, it was only a few degrees above zero (yes, zero Fahrenheit, not zero Celsius) at noon, and I didn’t feel like venturing out.
Tonight was the real Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving where you sit around a table with people who you care about and who you’d choose to spend time with.
I hadn’t planned on it. I had made myself some mashed potatoes and filled a Tupperware to eat during my dinner break at work tonight since I figured everywhere would be closed. But then early this afternoon, I was informed/invited to the gathering of the editorial staff that’s still in town.
I packed up my frozen fruit salad and leftover homemade apple pie, and the potatoes, into my car, and headed off to work. The three of us on the desk tonight worked as fast as possible and earned ourselves enough time for a 3-hour dinner break.
Another stereotype of journalists: They like to drink. There was really only one option of beverage to go with the dinner: Beer. Three different brands, but still all beer. And there’s no turning it down. Even the guy arrested for a DUI last month had a beer. The crew I was with were responsible drinkers, and those of us who needed to go back to work only had one (or in my case, 1/3 of a beer, since I don’t much like beer).
The meal was fantastic. Everyone contributed. We barely made a dent in the food, and we ate enough that one guy gained 5 pounds (yes, he weighed himself immediately before and after eating the dinner).
Being with coworkers and friends can be just as nice as with family. We could all have our cell phones sitting on the table next to our forks, and we could swear or make bad jokes, but we also said a lot of nice things to each other and about the food — without feeling like we had to because it’s family or something.
Thanksgiving dinner is about knowing the people who made your food. It’s about loving eating as much as everyone around you loves eating. It’s about being warm when the outside is cold. It’s about all sorts of things that you can still celebrate 500 miles from the family you’re thankful for or 900 miles from the boyfriend you’re thankful for.