So tomorrow I take off for South Texas to spend Thanksgiving with my sons and their significant others. Only we’re not going back “home” (where we used to live). Instead, we’re heading for Fredericksburg—a Hill Country town not unlike my very own mythical Konigsburg (except for no Toleffsons). A few years ago we started having Thanksgiving at a Fredericksburg bed and breakfast (there are a lot of them—it’s like the capitol of Texas bed and breakfasts). We knew just the place we wanted to rent. We’d stayed there in the summer, and it was light and airy with a creek running through the live oaks and pecans out back. Perfect.
Only the name of the place was very similar to the name of another bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg. And I was frustrated when I made the reservations because the online service wasn’t working right. And…well…I reserved the wrong cabin.
We didn’t realize this until we’d gotten to Fredericksburg after dark, mind you. Then we had to frantically phone our sons, who were driving up in their own cars. I saw the outside of the cabin and told myself (repeatedly) that everything would be okay. It was, after all, a historic house, even though it had no creek, no live oaks, and no pecans except for the pie I’d brought. But it was Thanksgiving. And we’d all have a great time fixing dinner and eating it.
Once I saw the inside of the place, my Pollyanna genes had to start working overtime. The owner had decorated it with “antiques,” which meant she’d stuffed every room in the place with junk. “Vintage” clothes hung over the doors, sort of like someone had just dropped by and left their undies behind (my older son was particularly taken by the black one-piece and rubber swimming cap with floppy flowers that were hanging in the bathroom). My sons, who both inherited my sarcastic tendencies, began referring to the place as the Bates Motel, expecting to find Norman’s mom reclining in a rocker somewhere underneath the detritus.
Then I heard my daughter-in-law whisper to my older son, “There’s no oven.” I looked around the meager kitchen and realized she was right. Hotplate. Microwave. Coffeepot. No oven. I had a smoked turkey breast, a couple of bags of stuffing mix, and a bag of sweet potatoes. And no oven in which to cook them. That was the point at which my husband took my arm, handed me a glass of wine, and ushered me into what would be our living room for the next three days (although it was also the room where our younger son was sleeping—maybe a little more togetherness than I’d planned on).
We made it. On Thanksgiving day we went down to our friendly neighborhood HEB (South Texas’s fantastic grocery chain) and bought the biggest toaster oven they had. We cooked in shifts in the tiny kitchen and washed dishes whenever the counters got overloaded. And afterward we played Trivial Pursuit and got royally plastered.
This is the point at which I should draw a moral and say that Despite All Our Difficulties, It Was The Best Thanksgiving Ever. Except it wasn’t. It was pretty much a disaster. But the next year (and all the years since, including this one), I managed to reserve the right cabin. And it’s been smooth sailing ever since. The sound you hear is me, knocking wood. Happy Thanksgiving all!