Thoughts on Mocksgiving morning

This is my 11th Mocksgiving morning. I’ve been thinking lately about how the age I’m entering is the height of power and responsibility, and I feel it this Mocksgiving. An endeaver that seemed unutterably grownup — a usurpation of maturity back when I first did it — now seems comfortable. It’s so much easier, this feeding of the five thousand (ok 30), now than it was 8 or 9 years ago. I know the questions — that’s the hardest part. And now I even know the answers.

As I cook, I think. I think of you. I think of what I want to tell you, so often, while I stand at the sink and gaze out at the autumn leaves falling like first snowflakes. Here are some of my thoughts this morning.


  • I wonder very much what this looks like to my sons. This holiday includes them, but it is not for them. How few holidays we have that do not revolve around “the children”. This is one. I wonder if Grey watches from the corners of the rooms, what he makes of the trope conversations that have been continued year to year since the year his parents were first married. I wonder if when they grow older, they’ll feel proud (or resentful?) that they don’t have a “normal” Thanksgiving, but rather this jubilant, crowded celebration of friendship and food?
  • This was my easiest turkey in years. Usually I end up hacking out the gizzards with tears, numb fingers and great persistence. This turkey was actually (gasp!) THAWED. I’m not sure that’s ever happened to me before, even when I managed to find a fresh 20 pound turkey two weeks before Thanksgiving.
  • I only made 3 pies this year. I didn’t make apple because no one ever eats it. I’m feeling anxious. What if people aren’t rolled out of here? I have a backup recipe in case I actually have time. What are the odds?
    Getting ready to stuff the turkey

  • My friend Corey is up for nomination to sainthood. He’s playing with Thane in Thane’s room — dealing with the barrage of “I need help!” that defines current interactions with my scion. The hardest part of Mocksgiving for me is taking care of the kids.
  • I’m a comfort cook. I make the same turkey and same stuffing every year. I make my mom’s recipes for lemon merangue pie, bread, stuffing. I innovate rarely. I sometimes feel… embarrassed? that I’m not a more ambitious cook. But on the other hand, it is who I am, and perhaps I should embrace it.
    Farmshare peach, pecan & lemon merangue (plus brownies)

  • I think a lot at Mocksgiving about Hospitality. You might not know it from the headlines about Christians, but Hospitality is a fundamental Christian virtue. I only practice pagan hospitality — the welcoming of friends. Christian Hospitality is the welcoming of strangers, of enemies even. But you must begin at the beginning of hospitality, and practice until you become good at it. Our culture does not support Christian Hospitality. It is hard to welcome the unwashed and unwanted into the fullness of your home with your beautiful babies and good china. But I think of it this day. There is also, to me, a holiness to the welcome of guests into my home. I find it profound, meaningful. When you cross my threshold, you are more welcome than you know, friends. It is one of the things I was truly called to do.
  • This call to welcome is perhaps why the one thing I don’t like about Mocksgiving is that I can’t invite everyone. This galls me. Trust me, if you wish you’d gotten an invite and you didn’t — I wish you had too. But every solution takes something fundamental from the venture. It must be my home. We must sit together. The 25 to 30 who come every year are the capacity of my house.
  • It’s a bright, sunny, warm Mocksgiving today. I love those, because the boundaries of the house bulge, and on warm days we can overspill to the yard or porch.
  • The first of my guests have already come (the aforementioned Sainted Corey). For years and years I always had this anxiety “What if no one came?”. I no longer suffer than one, to the same degree. But some of the stalwarts are not able to be here, and I wonder who will appear first at my door.
    My mother's bread recipe. We also have a loaf of Adam's bread.

  • Of course, the tragedy of Mocskgiving is that I have no time to talk in depth with the rooms full of people I love. Irony!

    (Note: if opportunity and thoughts strike, I’ll continue adding pictures and thoughts to this post until the party starts.)

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  • 4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Mocksgiving morning

    1. On Friday afternoon I was seized with the urge to find a red-eye and come to Mocksgiving. For fully five minutes, the clamor of rationality and Johnstone impulsiveness dooked it out in my brain. (I just spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how to spell dooked. This spelling is a wooden plug — but what is the correct spelling — I don’t know. It will have to go on my spelling list when I find it.)
      “I want to escape! Just thing, a couple of days to ignore the new grading program the district has instituted.” “But when will you get your report cards done?” “You’re only young once … oh wait, I’m not young.” “You must be out of your mind — how would you get ready for conferences next week and your mother’s visit and … well you know about the and.” “But you’re not invited.” “Crash the party — you’ve never done that.”
      The knock out blow, a jab to the heart, was the knowledge that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make it back to church. Remember the comic — “Mommy, I don’t want to go to school.” “You have to go, you’re the teacher!” Well, people would be surprised if I didn’t show up, owing to my being the pastor and all.

      But my thoughts are with you. Enjoy Mocksgiving.

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      1. I sincerely wish that the impulsive Johnstonocity had won! I would love to have you. You are most certainly welcome at any time, regardless of whether you’re in possession of a “golden ticket”.

        Maybe next year? Or next weekend?!

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    2. bread recipe! Peach pie recipe! I’m scaling back thanksgiving–I’ll be 38+ weeks pregnant–but I’m sticking to making my stuffing, the cranberry sauce, and a pumpkin pie. but the peach pie looks delicious… and maybe I could get some bread going early that week…

      sigh. The thought of 3 kids is feeling REALLY overwhelming today.

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