November snow at Glencree

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The gift of Thanksgiving


In our family Thanksgiving is HUGE. Ever since I can remember, this day above most, we would gather our nearest and dearest around a large table. 

Young and old alike would share a meal and reflect on how blessed we are. When Rob and I were engaged, we took over the tradition by cooking for

 both of our families; Spero's and White's in one big feast! Ever since, we (Rob and Leslie) have carried the family tradition - no matter where we had moved. One great Thanksgiving memory took place in Kodiak Alaska, when Rob was station there in 1985. We BBQ'd the turkey as was my families tradition but with the Spero flair... upside down. This was actual wonderful as the bird had to be on the coals so long because of the snow that we were worried about the white meat retain moisture. Retain it did and our 1st Thanksgiving away from our families was a success. A new tradition had begun as well. With the absence of parents & siblings present, we gathered our "family" of friends; that year it was the Hoyt and Marcotte families.  This still continues all these years later. Our children; now grown, have always known that Thanksgiving would not be the same without the Caulley's (Dana and Blake's twins were the new addition this year), Swedberg's arriving for dessert, Lui-kwan's when in town, Aunt Jenny and assorted grandparents. 

Over the years the Spero home has had between 12 to 28 people gathered together to count our blessings.  Some years we've had a kid or two missing (away at college) or a grandparent unable to make it. This year however was the first time I was missing.

I knew this was going to be incredibly difficult for me. So what's a mom to do when she's in Ireland during a special American holiday?  Bring the American holiday to the Irish.  This was an incredible undertaking that included no recipes, three cooking spaces, shared time with the Armoury Cafe kitchen  and teaching my housemates about stuffed mushrooms, baked sweet potatoes and a 100 year old recipe for chestnut and sausage  stuffing.   Menu done, invitations sent to the Glencree family, table decorations settled and the 29lb. bird on its way!  Not everyone could come but we had 19 members of the "family" gathered for what were for many a 1st Thanksgiving. We were quite the international crowd.  Gosha and  Samuel from Poland, Jean from Taiwan, Magali and Nury from Mexico, Ranjan from Sri Lanka, Edgar from Brazil, Nicky from South Africa along with Ian, Jim and 2 different Murphy's families representing Ireland. Thanksgiving in Ireland was a grand success and I was a bit less lost. To top off the evening... the snow fell!

When it snows in the Wicklow Mountains... you better settle in.

Glencree is situated on top of a the mountain and in an absolutely gorgeous place.  Gorgeous that is unless you want to leave after it snows.  The snow is also beautiful and if you had a 4wheel drive, chain, sleds or skis you could enjoy it all the more.  However... Ireland is void of all of that and so you are relegated to travel on foot.  Which means ladies and gentlemen, we are Centre bound.  No one out and no one in until the roads are cleared.  And here's the rub; no snow equipment on the Emerald Isle either.  

So far so good - thank God we have Thanksgiving left overs and the power has stayed on so we have heat.  Internet has been off and on but we have plenty of books to read and some old movies to watch.  

Being stuck on a mountain can certain occupy space in your brain that would otherwise be thinking of being home; surviving being stranded without turning into the Donner Party, comes to mind.  Life certain is full of adventure.

I am hoping that there is a bit of a break in the weather.  Not only to get food and supplies but to get to the airport on the 22nd of December for my trip home.  That's less than a month away and YES I am counting the days!

Until the next time... stay warm, cherish your friends and family, while always remembering how grateful we are to be in each others lives.


  1. Those peeps are so lucky to have had you treating them to a Thanksgiving extravaganza! Sounds amazing! Merisa and her family adopted me for the day, and it was lovely.

    We had a few snowbound days ourselves out here, and I have to say -- for a couple of days, snowbound feels GREAT. So peaceful. On Cap Hill, there were no truck noises to drown out the chorus of crazy yelling people that is the norm here.

    Miss you ten tons, but love you twenty more,

  2. Aw, you shoulda told me about planning your feast!! When James did the same in Germany, we translated all the recipes measurements and worked out substitutes!! But what a great event you had, definitely caught the spirit!!
    Hope to see you when you get home - as do a thousand others!! In the meantime, enjoy the solace of the snow!