The Thanksgiving tradition has been to travel to Farmingdale and feast with the Rozakis clan included as a part of their extended family. Over the years this has been incredibly inclusive stretching as far as college roommates, their siblings, former CTY Teaching Assistants, old elementary school teachers and other strays. Last year, Kate’s boyfriend Mike was welcomed to the table, the likes of which he had never before experienced.
At I-Con this spring, I was asked by Chuck Rozakis and his wife Rebecca how I felt about actually doing Thanksgiving in Fairfax, Virginia. Rebecca’s brother James and his wife Amy are both in the military stationed around the country and they have not seen one another in ages. The fates saw to it a narrow window presented itself and their mother, Deborah, was willing to have the entire operation move from Farmingdale to Fairfax. We were, of course, more than willing to make this happen.
On Wednesday, I skipped school and we were on the road at 6 a.m., dogs in tow. They traveled remarkably well once they settled down. There was minimal traffic and we got down in great time. We rendezvoused with Howard Weinstein, visiting him and his pet Callie. We all walked dogs and then went out for lunch and walked the dogs some more. When Kate got out of work we went over and began baking pies before she made us a lovely, nutritious dinner.
Thursday, despite the different locale, it was business as usual. Coffee and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade although the Broadway segment was particularly lackluster this year and Don McLean did the worst lip synching ever. We got ready and drove through some traffic to reach Fairfax pretty much on time. Deborah and Jim Gillespie live in a magnificent home and they had more than enough room for the Rozakis’, the Greenbergers, Bob’s brother Richie and his wife and son, and new to the crowd were, of course James and Amy plus Deborah’s mother. Seventeen in all and we noshed on the usual assortment of snacks, including the traditional pigs in blankets. Some chatted, some watched football and two Bobs even grabbed quick naps.
The food was wonderful and plentiful as we filled three tables nestled near one another. When it came time for dessert, Jim, ever the host, ran through the multiple offerings then took orders so he could control the chaos. Everything worked with an admirable precision.
Friday, Kate worked so most of us headed in Washington, hooking up now and then but largely going out separate ways. Deb and I visited the Jefferson Memorial and the Supreme Court, which we had never seen before. We walked parts of the mall and other sections along with dining with Bob, Laurie, Chuck, and Sammi. That evening, we met with Kate and Mike for a Korean dinner followed by three hours of karaoke. There, it was eclectic and downright silly. Jim and Bob did a reprise of “Sunrise Sunset”, which they sang together at Chuck and Rebecca’s wedding. James displayed some interesting gaps in his musical knowledge while Chuck belted out some fun bits. To spare all, I did not sing solo. Kate and Rebecca were the singing stars, switching it up from :Adelaide’s Lament” to “Barbie Girl” to “Material Girl”. Everyone joined in for “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and then for the finale, in Robbie’s honor, we all sang “Don’t Stop Believin’”.
On Saturday, it was just us and Kate as did errands, drove around, and just hung out, relaxing. We taught her how to make a pot roast which was ready by the time Mike joined us. We feasted once more then played a board game until it was time to crash.
We were up and out by 6:07 this morning, arriving in Fairfield in a remarkable 4:55, including three stops. Our fear was getting trapped in the holiday rush but wisely stayed way ahead of the curve. It gave us plenty of time to relax, unpack, check mail, get some prep for the week done and then grocery shop.
It was lovely being with Kate and better to share the holiday weekend with friends and family (maybe not by blood but in every other way). There was much to be thankful for this year, including being able to get everyone together.