It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and Allison hosts a feast for the friends at her old house. She wants to celebrate the recent near-completion of the kitchen remodel. There is still no backsplash, and the hardware has not yet been installed on the cabinets. But the appliances are all installed and working – an unmatched set, united only by their history as reclaimed from other homes, other projects. She has an extra-wide range, surplussed from a local restaurant upgrade. The refrigerator and dishwasher came from a renovation at one of the fancy recreational developments along the river. New owner, new appliances, although the “old” ones were installed less than five years before. The mismatched finishes make Allison happy, as happy as the white paint on the upper cabinets, and the rich brick red on the lower ones.
She recognizes how surprising it is that someone of her background would adore this patchwork look, and revels in how far she’s come from her need to conform.
Kassandra brings Jeeves, and they arrive early to help with preparations. Jeeves is an excellent cook, and has volunteered to be in charge of the main dish. Accommodating tastes and preferences, she is baking a large filled squash, roasting potatoes both yellow and sweet, and seasoning it all with a mix of Indian and Asian spices. Allison’s newly installed range is soon the source of lovely smells: onions cooking in olive oil, curry, ginger, mustard.
Meanwhile, Kassandra helps set up a table outside, hoping the good weather holds. She covers it with a tie-dyed tablecloth and napkins, one of the small projects accomplished with River while they brainstorm ideas for their next large-scale art. She also assists Allison with last-minute cleaning, keeping out of Jeeves’ way as they realize she is at her best and happiest if the kitchen is entirely her domain.
The preparation goes by in a blink, and soon the house and yard fill with friends as well as spicy smells. Leo and Franny bring dessert: one traditional pumpkin pie, and one gluten-free apple cranberry tart. David, Penny, and Rosa arrive together. Rosa offers up a beautiful sweet bread she’s made, and David finds room on one of the tables for his huge salad.
Warmth, laughter, food, companionship. The sun gently warms them through their hats, scarves, and jackets, and as they share the feast, the friends relax into their old patterns, thankful to keep the dark of winter at bay for one more day.