Thursday, November 26, 2009
This morning I was thinking about the millions of women across the country who were getting out of bed, maybe making time for a quick cup of coffee and then getting busy in the kitchen creating the feast that people expect to have for Thanksgiving. All of us making food to feed families and friends. And it's not easy to do. Because for many, this day of labor comes on top of the regular labor they engage in on a regular basis. We were in the Save-a-Lot yesterday picking up bananas for cream pie and a box of tea. As we were checking out, the woman at the register was saying that her arm and shoulder were sore from lifting turkeys all the time. She had many elderly customers and she didn't want them to have to lift a heavy frozen turkey, so she was lifting them onto the seat part of the shopping cart for them. Then there was trouble with the scale when she tried to weigh our bananas, so she called another woman over from the pallet of boxes she was emptying. She was saying how much cooking and baking she had to do that night when she went home. Fortunately, they closed early at 5 last evening. I could relate. I was remembering a couple of years ago when I was working at the library in Klamath Falls. The director decided not to close early on Wednesday, so I had to work until 8 that night and then go back Friday morning. Since Thanksgiving week is my busiest cooking and baking time of the year, and we would normally spend hours on Friday putting up Christmas decorations, this schedule was problematic. Nevertheless, I started baking a couple of days early and got up on Wednesday to cook squash and sweet potatoes—a job Bill finished after I had left for work. I walked there, was there for 9 hours, and got out at 8. In the meantime, Bill had picked up Heather at the airport as she was visiting for the weekend. On Thanksgiving Day, I was up early again, though I felt exhausted, and I did what needed to be done to get dinner underway. While things were cooking I had a little time to sort of melt into the chair. Then there was the last minute stuff to do. Then we ate, cleaned up, and put away leftovers. Then it was into the closet to drag out boxes of Christmas decorations and I spent an additional few hours putting those up, saving some for the following afternoon. I was aching by the time I went to bed at midnight. And the next day, I was up and walking to the library once again, this time for a shorter shift. I was out at 2, walked home, and finished putting up the Christmas decorations. Only then could I relax. It felt good to put my feet up and finally enjoy some quiet time. So I was feeling that exhaustion again yesterday when I told the woman at the store to have a Happy Thanksgiving and to enjoy her day off. She breathed a big sigh as she looked at me and nodded. I hope that she is having a great day today. I hope that she will find some time to sit down and put her feet up. I hope someone else hauls around her turkey. And I hope that she will have fun with people she cares about.