A Toast


When I was four-years-old I had Thanksgiving with my family, as per usual. Nothing truly ground breaking about that. For the three years prior I also had Thanksgiving dinner with my relatives instead of while watching television like I had requested.

My parents are divorced and have been since I was one-year-old, so holidays like Thanksgiving have often meant a lot to my dad as I would visit him for a long weekend and he could have all of his kids from his two first marriages with him. My sisters, their boyfriends, my dad’s third wife, and anyone else interested in our dysfunctional family occasion were welcome to feast.

At the beginning of this meal, twenty minutes after I turned off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we sat down at the table. My dad tapped his glass with a butter knife to get everyone’s attention. Then he stood up with his wine glass in hand. He raised the glass and simply said, ”A toast.” We all raised our glasses, including my own grape juice with the help and encouragement of my oldest sister. That was all that needed to be said. The family knew why a toast for this celebration was in order. We, a peculiar but common American family, had organized ourselves well enough to all be together on this family holiday. A toast to being thankful, to being together, to being a family.

We sat down and ate our fill. We ate turkey. We ate sweet potatoes. We ate green beans. We ate everything and drank everything that was on the table. It was delicious and warm and comforting. And then dessert came out: pie and candy galore. I had more than I should have of all the sweets, even after eating all of the meats.

But I was quite confused. This occasion was missing something I had been promised. The meal was satisfying, but I had been hyped up for something I had not seen amongst all the holiday goodies. I had questions! So, like my dad, I tapped my spoon on the side of my glass to get everyone’s attention.

I had interrupted a loud New York holiday conversation about something adult, but everyone looked over to me to see what I had to say as if it were obviously going to be extremely important. Was I upset? Was I sick? Was I tired? Everyone was curious now.

”Where’s the toast?” I asked. ”You said there would be toast.”

Since then every Thanksgiving has included toast. Thanksgiving sandwiches with turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing on toast have been pretty good these past twenty Thanksgivings.  Often starting or ending with, ”A toast to toast.”

(photo courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/Freedigitalphotos.net)