Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks That They're Not Together Everyday

by Meredith Cole

My amateur sleuth, Lydia McKenzie, loves her parents. They're kind, funny and they truly love her. But there's a reason that she left Dayton, Ohio and moved to New York City. She wanted to become her own person. She wanted to be an artist and live on the East Coast. And she did not want to have to endure another McKenzie Thanksgiving.

Although her family isn't large, it is opinionated and loud. They don't suffer fools quietly. So Thanksgiving is always quite an event, with all the traditional trimmings. Since Lydia favors Pad Thai over turkey, and dark chocolate over pumpkin pie, it isn't her favorite. But she's willing to overeat once a year when she must.

Now the joke is on Lydia, though. Her parents refused to stay put in Ohio themselves. As soon as their retirement became official, they hit the road in an RV to explore the country. They send regular postcards from the weirdest and wackiest places they find.

Lydia's parents are so much fun, I had to have them come for a visit in my third book (MURDER UNDER DEVELOPMENT, release date TBA). They arrive in Brooklyn in their RV searching for a missing girl. Through the book, they drive Lydia crazy. But she also learns to appreciate their wackiness a bit more.

So Thanksgiving this year... Now that there isn't a home to go back to it or a traditional Thanksgiving with all the trimmings, Lydia misses the celebration. Just a little. In order for the McKenzie clan to celebrate, the holiday would go something like this: Meet up in whatever part of the country they're exploring that week. Iowa? Kansas? Arkansas? Find a restaurant that's serving a Thanksgiving feast. The funnier the outside decor the better. Book a table and show up. Points go to the person in the family that's willing to try all the local variations of the dishes for the T-giving feast. Sweet potato pie with miniature marshmallows, etc.

After eating their fill, and arguing about what tasted the best, the family would then return to the campsite. Lydia's father would insist that they all play Hearts until they couldn't keep their eyes open any longer. And when the holiday was over, and Lydia got back on her plane home, they would all feel a little thankful that it was over. And then they would start missing each other again.


Sophie Littlefield said...

i love your fictional thanksgiving...except for the campsite part! last night we were talking to my dad about his childhood in cleveland and it made me wish we had all gone there, to one of the Polish restuarants, maybe gone to a Polish Mass. Maybe next year.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Sounds like a lot of fun! Isn't it weird when your parents end up being cooler than you, suddenly, out of nowhere? A fun problem to have, especially around the holidays.

Thanks, Meredith! And happy day after Thanksgiving!

Rochelle Staab said...

Now that sounds like a fun Thanksgiving even if it is fictional! Love the idea of exploring the US and spinning the wheel for a local restaurant and their version of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. But my favorite part of this post is the last line "missing each other again."

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks for stopping by on Thanksgiving weekend Sophie, Becky and Rochelle! I was without wifi for three days at my mother's house (until today), so I'm finally catching up on everything.

Hope you all had a terrific holiday!

Shane Gericke said...

Oooh, Polish food. Love it! How many people did you have, Meredith?