When the Women's Holiday Begins

Traditionally, it has been the women who work their asses off on Thanksgiving. It's a little better these days as men who enjoy cooking, or men who have wives who don't cook, have tied on the apron of honor and plunged themselves into the maelstrom of preparing a feast for the family. But generally, it's women who don't really get a holiday...

It reminds me of my working mother who, whenever my dad said he wanted to take the family camping on vacation, would say, "That's no vacation. While you and the kids are out fishing and swimming I'm doing everything I do at home, only the hard way!"

Don't misunderstand me, I love cooking for my family, and Nettl and I have become a pretty good holiday team. While she makes the pies, mashed potatoes, yams, and turkey and dressing, I handle the veggies, bread, small sides, and all the pre-holiday housecleaning. Our family is one of the good ones where after-dinner washing up is concerned: everyone helps, or at least offers to help, but the kitchen is only so big.

When I was a kid, the women didn't want the men in the kitchen during the cleanup; they sent them into the living room to fall into snoring stupors. Even we kids weren't allowed in that sacred temple after the Thanksgiving or Christmas feast because after the the dishes and pots and pans had been washed and put away (these were pre-dishwasher days) the women sat down at the little table and played cards, talking and laughing while finishing off the bottles of wine or spiking their coffee with other fun stuff. It always seemed like more fun to me than being bored to death by snoring men and uninteresting TV.

Anyway, as you give thanks today, remember to mention the women who have spent two full days shopping, cleaning, cooking, and most likely cleaning up afterward. Their holiday doesn't really begin until after the aprons come off.