A Thanksgiving House 2015

Cape May, NJ – 15 years ago we celebrated our first Thanksgiving in our new Cape May house.

We had not moved in yet. The kitchen cabinets had no counters. The refrigerator was still back in our old house. But the new GE stove in all its stainless steel glory was hooked up and begging to have a turkey roasting inside.

So Thanksgiving Day 2000, we roasted the turkey in the unfinished house. My parents good-naturedly helped us carry in the side dishes. I don’t remember exactly what we ate. I do remember how that turkey perfumed what was still a construction site. And how we all laughed.

Thanksgiving had imprinted itself on our new home.

In the years since then, Thanksgiving is the one holiday we always celebrate at home.

Some things never change:

We always order our turkey from West Side Market in West Cape May, after a heated discussion about how big a bird to get.

We always use the same turkey brining recipe, stained from years of use.

We always have a discussion about the stuffing – something new or Granny’s old favorite? Guess what wins.

Despite the traditions, our holiday takes on a decidedly mutable air from year to year, perhaps because our first Thanksgiving celebration took place in a house still under construction.

One year, we had 15 for Thanksgiving dinner.

Another year, it was so warm we ate our turkey on the patio, just the two of us.

Last Thanksgiving, a real family affair, we had to pull out the Christmas tablecloth to accommodate a last minute rush of family. It was the last time we would see my husband’s brother alive.

We will miss him this year.

If our Thanksgiving house has taught us anything over the last 15 years, it’s to be flexible, giving and grateful for what we have at the moment.

About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.