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    Warmth Amidst The Chaos

    From the November 2021 issue of Fox Valley Magazine

    Thanksgiving is nearly upon us.

    As we said last month, Halloween may be the perfect holiday because of its lack of pressure on anyone – no pressure on parents to make sure the feast is prepared well and on-time.  No pressure about presents. No pressure on kids to pretend they like the food or presents given to them.  It’s just pure hedonism at its best.

    Thanksgiving is the peaceful holiday.

    OK, I can now hear women (and some men) rising up in anger, swearing like sailors that I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Peace?  Are you kidding?  There’s no peace until the last dish is put away and all the leftover turkey sandwiches have been consumed!


    Ladies, I can speak from experience. I have been the main chef for many a Thanksgiving feast (including this year).  I understand well the mixed sense of dread and expectation that lies at the base of the skull as one checks and re-checks the groceries and supplies, while one schedules out the process of making several dishes arrive on-time, at the same time, often needing multiple ovens that aren’t available and fretting over a main course you make once, maybe twice per year.

    In fact, I helped prepare a Thanksgiving dinner once in London.  Fear?  I offered my famous (ho-ho) sweet potato pie as a side, only to find that our go-to place for produce, Herrod’s, didn’t carry sweet potatoes!  They carried the “other” yams – white and thick and blech.  I had to do some tapdancing to make that bloody thing work, I can tell you.

    Anyway, my point is that I know it’s stressful in terms of making the meal, but even then, at least for me, there’s a peace to it, because you’re in your home, hopefully your family is coming in and out snatching little bits of everything, maybe you’re having a glass of wine – in short, it’s a festive, homey atmosphere that warms you even in the midst of organized chaos.  At least it does for me.

    So have that glass of wine if it helps.  Light the scented candles or brew the spice concoction that the real estate agents use, or whatever.  But take time in the midst of it to soak it all in – warmth, family, love.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Until next month,

    Paul Stukel, Editor, Fox Valley Magazine 

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