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’Tis the Season

Embracing time as it comes, from the Thanksgiving feast to the New Year

Lucky us!
    Chesapeake Country is far enough north on Earth’s temperature grid for us to be feeling the chill. Degree by falling degree, we draw into our homes, layer on our wool and fleecy clothes and light our fires. Turning inward and homeward, we’re in sync with the season that celebrates hearth and home.
    (How our neighbors in southern climes enter the spirit of the winter holidays I’m not sure. That, I figure, is their story to write.)
    We celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving on November 22, the earliest possible date for the feast fixed to the month’s fourth Thursday. Thanksgiving’s arrival only 326 days into the year shocks our annual clock the way falling out of Daylight Savings Time shocks our circadian clocks. What’s next seems to come a little too soon.
    But there’s nothing we can do to slow down the passage of time. Put the brakes on though we would, December 25 will fall on the 359th day of the year.
    So seasoned by the chill, we jump into the season.
    At Bay Weekly we bring on the winter holidays this week to give you time for preparation.
    This pre-Thanksgiving issue is a favorite of mine for a couple of reasons.
    One, it’s the issue wherein we dwell on the Thanksgiving feast.
    That’s the high mark on the culinary calendar for people who believe, as I do, that cooking that feast translates Earth into spirit. The closer we come to reaping Earth’s harvest for ourselves, the closer we stand in continuity to our foremothers and fathers. Who but they, after all, are we honoring in this feast? Those distant, tricky, straight-laced Puritans? Or the people who planted our own families, hunting, fishing and farming — plus whatever else was needed — to feed them?
    As Bill Burton used to say, if you know the answer, it’s not a question.
    In that spirit, this year’s Thanksgiving feast is brought to you by Sporting Life columnist Dennis Doyle from field and Bay; by the Bay Gardener from the soil, with a little help from avocational sweet potato farmer John Autrey, who also happens to be a wine maker; and from the vines by grape grower and vintner Jane Margaret O’Brien, past president of St. Mary’s College and proprietor of Slack Winery. I’ve also dropped in folklorist Bernard Herman’s Eastern Shore Thanksgiving feast as written for Saveur magazine.
    Each weaves food into a story of the people who grow, gather and prepare the feast that brings them together. By telling their stories, each invites us to recall our own.
    Throughout the winter holidays, we create, perpetuate and share the traditions that make us who we are. Traditions define us in our culture and community as well as in our families.
    The second reason I love this week’s paper is the special supplement slipped inside it, Season’s Bounty. In its 56 pages, we’ve gathered in calendar format six weeks of traditional celebrations of these winter holidays. In this mighty piece of work, compiled and edited this year by Martha Lee Benz, you’ll find Illuminations, Santa Sightings, and Shows and Sales plus a day-by-day listing of holiday events beginning November 15 and running into January.
    You’ll find Nutcrackers, Scrooges, tree lightings, boat parades, concerts, sing-alongs, bazaars, balls, trains, gingerbread villages, holiday houses and dozens of workshops to teach you to deck your own halls, bake your own cookies and prepare your own feasts. You’ll find events in your own backyard and opportunities that invite you to step out of your comfort zone into farther wonderlands, whether you travel on The Polar Express or drive your own car to Washington, Baltimore or the Eastern Shore.
    Season’s Bounty is a valuable document, and you’ll find it only in this issue of Bay Weekly — not online. Keep your copy and make it your invitation and guidebook to the winter holidays in Chesapeake Country.

Share the Season; Tell Your Story

    This early in the year, we’re just at the beginning of all the fun. You’ve got time to make these holidays a work of the heart. There’s no better way to do that than to tell your own story. Please take this as my personal invitation to you to share your special traditions with me and all Bay Weekly readers.
    Send your stories, and the pictures that illustrate them, to [email protected]. I’ll need them by ­November 30, so you’ve got plenty of time.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; [email protected]