Happy Thanksgiving from guest blogger Elizabeth Bard

This is, or rather was, Marie-Hortense, last year’s Thanksgiving turkey in Paris. Why, you may ask, such a dignified name for our she-bird? I’d tell you. But then I’d have to kill you. Suffice it to say, there were some at the table who thought a certain Marie-Hortense would benefit from a sprig of rosemary up the bum.

This year, Thanksgiving seems to have snuck up on me. I’m just back from a 3 week trip to the US. Still up at 4am every morning from the jetlag. I doubt anyone in our tiny Provencal village even knows it’s a holiday; so I will go on with business as usual: buy some salmon and dorade from the fishmonger at our Thursday market, work for a few hours in my local cafe. I’m organizing my winter pantry, cocao powder and lots of whole wheat pasta – as they are predicting snow this weekend.

One thing that happens when no one around you is frantically cooking, polishing silver or planning their 5am Black Friday shopping marathon, is that you have a little time to think about what Thanksgiving really means. I’m a perfectionist, which means I am often ungrateful. I expect too much – of myself, and of everything and everyone around me. I often forget to give thanks for the many gifts life has given me: a son who smiles all the time, a man who can tile a floor and recite poetry, a family who loves me even when I bite back, friends who can finish my sentences, a job that engages my head and my heart, and a new, glorious landscape to explore.

So this year, I’ve decided to take the day off. From myself. Today, I will not feel behind. I will not worry about being a better wife, mother, daughter, housekeeper or writer. I’ll be having quite an ordinary day, but I’ll be thinking and thanking – instead of fretting and fixing. We all need one day a year when we meet our own expectations, and allow the world to be as it is, instead of exactly how we would like it to be.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. http://www.elizabethbard.com/2010/11/turkey-named-marie-hortense.html