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Thanksgiving at Papa Bear Lodge

Bear Lake, Thanksgiving Day 2017


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I like the tradition of the day, a day that is a mixture of busy-ness and relaxation. I like the weather—sometimes pleasant and mild, sometimes brisk, sometimes snowy, but always cooler than summer.

Bear Lake Thanksgiving 2017I like the quality (and quantity) of time spent in the company of loved ones. A day to spend with family living nearby or visiting from far away. A day to welcome roommates or friends who live too far from home to be with their own family. A day, when living far from our own relatives, to have friends become family.

In this disposable, instant, and rushed culture, I like the care and craft required to assemble a feast. Feast. Isn’t that a great word? To me it implies conversation, leisure, quality, satisfaction, and companionship. There are those who argue that the hours and effort spent in preparation are not worth the short time it takes to consume the meal. I disagree. And a feast isn’t consumed; it is savored. The preparation and effort contribute not only to the quality of the food but also to the quality of the day.

And I like the food. I’m a picky eater, and most of the traditional Thanksgiving foods (and the included traditional family foods) are foods I love. There are some selections that I could easily dismiss for the rest of my life, but among such plentiful options these are easy to ignore.

When I designed Papa Bear Lodge, I structured the kitchen with Thanksgiving in mind. I learned that what is designed on paper doesn’t always accurately translate to physical reality, but I’m happy with the end result. (Not bad for my first try!)

Two years ago, we personally put the Thanksgiving kitchen design to the test when my extended family converged at Papa Bear for the holiday weekend. The day was spent in preparation and in just being together. We had games for the cousins and a movie playing in the theater room. The kitchen was bustling with many cooks—a brother-in-law showing off his skills by mashing two bowls of potatoes at once, a sister making snacks to tide the littles (and adults!) over until dinner, my mom making her special-occasion lemon pie. (We made good use of the two crock pots, two microwaves, two cooktops, and four ovens!) We had letter-writing supplies out so we could send our love to those who weren’t able to be with us. Cousins burned off energy at the playground.

After dinner we gathered on the front steps for a group picture. That evening, when both dishwashers had been started and the large pots scrubbed, the teenagers chatted and laughed in the hot tub. The adults conversed on the sectional in front of the fire. Some read. Some worked on crafts. Everyone relaxed.


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