It’s the most wonderful day of the year, and I’m not talking about that December holiday when the fat man brings gadgets and Dads and Moms double-check their supply of AA batteries.
No, the most wonderful day of the year is Thanksgiving, at least at the Corrie N. Cody household. Every year, my house swells with the love and friendship of my guests, and my dining room table groans under the weight of abundance. Like many tables in the country, mine will include a variety of casseroles, salads, sides and sweets that reflect the ethnic heritage and the family traditions of my guests.
I’m always in charge of the turkey, dressing, gravy and green bean casserole. Oui. That green bean casserole. The one that includes French fried onion rings from a can, fresh from the factory and lacking anything resembling an onion.
I make that casserole to honor my Uncle Jim, who I miss dearly. His lack of culinary sophistication was legend in my family. He would eat anything with equal relish – a stale potato chip dipped in ketchup, dill pickles with leftover tomato soup, mashed potatoes with chocolate sauce. Uncle Jim never talked about how he was starved as a prisoner of war during World War II. Although he remained thin all his long life, it seemed to my youthful self that he was always eating. And boy-oh-boy did he love
Thanksgiving. Especially that casserole.
The price of admission at the Corrie N. Cody table – like so many tables across the country – is that everyone must share one thing – and one thing only – for which they are thankful.
I never leave this decision to whim, and I typically spend weeks deciding on that one thing to share. Should I be serious and introspective or fun and frivolous? Here are my current front-runners. I am thankful for:
Our willingness to acknowledge our mistakes. Just outside of Cody on the road to Powell sits the Heart Mountain WWII Japanese-American internment camp. While most people I know do not look favorably upon the period of our history where we locked up more than 14,000 of our citizens at Heart Mountain simply because of their heritage, we admit our role and hope to never repeat it. I think Uncle Jim would cast a celestial vote for this one.
Winter is coming. No, I’m not talking about games, thrones or Jon Snow. When the snow falls just outside of Yellowstone’s east gate, I am ready to strap on my skis and carve some turns at Sleeping Giant Ski Area. This little gem of a hill has been a huge hit with the locals since it reopened a few years ago.
A founder who was so open-minded. Buffalo Bill Cody believed in women’s rights, equal pay and general respect for others at a time when so many people were viewed as second-class citizens. I am proud that he set an example for so any people in my hometown and surrounding region.
Trout. An outfitter in town who I know loves when the temperature drops. If someone asks if the fly fishing shuts down during the winter, his favorite response is “The fish don’t care what month it is.” Casting a fly in the colder weather is a true treat for those of us who find it easier to break away from work.
The Cody Stampede. With the 100th anniversary of our mid-summer rodeo next July, locals are already getting excited. Past parade grand marshals have included Chuck Yeager, Steven Seagal and John Wayne. I hope I get to meet next year’s.
Wapiti. An American Indian name for elk meaning white tail, wapiti are found all over Cody Yellowstone Country. These magnificent creatures are fun to watch, and it’s even better if you’re around when the bulls are bugling and trying to attract mates.
I still have some time before the big day, and I will continue to mull over what to share when my turn comes. What will you say when it’s your turn?
Until next time, I’m loving life – and stocking up on green beans and mushroom soup – here in Cody Yellowstone.