I would always help my mom set the table the night before Thanksgiving and one of my duties was making the place cards. We would gather the vintage china from the china cabinet and bring the fancy green goblets up from the basement storage and wash them. One year, we must have missed a goblet and my Aunt Criss found a spider in her glass—luckily she thought it was funny. Thanksgiving was always held at my mom’s house, until one of my older sisters, Theresa, passed away in 1995. Then my mom quit having the celebration at her house, because Thanksgiving was my sister Theresa’s favorite holiday. Everyone was always welcome at my mom’s house, and like my sister Theresa, they both were accepting and non-judgmental with all people. Theresa would frequently bring “weird” people to the dinner, or at least they seemed weird to me at the time—from a tween boy’s perspective. She’d drag along friends and acquaintances that had nowhere else to go. I think some of these folks were actually homeless—and who knows where she even met them. She only saw the person, not their circumstances (or race or sexuality) when she made friends. I always think of my mom and sister Theresa while I’m preparing my Thanksgiving celebration and remember all of those wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations at my mom' house. My mom is now at an assisted living with Alzheimer’s, but I still set the table the night before and make place cards for everyone—whether there are four guests or a full house. I hope I’m as good of a person (and as stylish) as my mom and sister, Theresa.
Mr. Peacock's Thanksgiving table from last year’s celebration. I cut up an oversize black and white xerox poster I had rolled up in the closet (which was getting a bit tattered around the edges) and used it as the table runner over a white linen tablecloth. It really made the clean-up easy too, I just wadded it up and recycled it.
I made the poster from a scan of this vintage etching of poisonous plants. The 72" x 72" poster nearly covered an entire wall in my kitchen for a few years, before it was transformed into the Thanksgiving table runner.
I used feathers, baby apples, fiddleheads, leaves and chocolate asters in last year’s Thanksgiving bouquet. I have to admit I cheated with the asters—they’re artificial, but look very real. I keep a stash of authentic looking artificial flowers just to fill in, if I run short, when making bouquets. I abhor arrangements of artificial flowers, but one or two fake flowers mixed in with the real flowers can fool the eyes. I found the feathers at my favorite hardware store in the whole, wide world—Cliff’s Variety in the Castro.
...including these amazing feathers. I don’t even know what you’d call them, but I called them “feather-swatches.” I tucked one "swatch" into each napkin as a party favor for each guest. The color and texture of the feathers were beautiful on the table.
I now use my “feather-swatch” as a substitute pocket kerchief.
This year I’m basing the table “theme” on this vintage Thanksgiving tablecloth that I’ve had for years, but never used. I love the color palette of greens, browns and oranges with the metallic gold "glitter" highlights.
Whatever your plans are this Thanksgiving, take a moment and reflect on the blessings in your life. Mr. Peacock wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and will be back on Friday.