Saturday, November 07, 2009

November Memories

The crunch of leaves, the bite of the wind, the layering of clothes. Did you just turn on your heater, or has it been on for a few weeks? Is it still pouring rain? Are there mums blooming where you are? Are you counting the days till Christmas?

What does November mean? Simply put, it marks the eleventh month on our calendar. But I'm wondering what the word brings to mind to different people.

To a writer, November might mean participating in NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write 50,000 words, and not edit, not doubt. Turn off that internal voice that tells you you're doing it wrong. Dedicate yourself to turning out pages.

To a child, the time between Halloween and Thanksgiving counts off the days till the next break from classes. It might mean raking leaves at his/her home or for neighbors. Or shoveling snow! A high schooler might look forward to the Fall Dance. Or not. LOL In some areas, it's Girl Scout cookie time! Yum.

As a mom with little children, November meant visiting Santa, shopping for Christmas presents, and getting an annual picture taken, printed and stuffed in Christmas cards to mail on December 1st. It meant making sure my kids were wearing sufficient clothing--does every child fight putting on a jacket? Wearing a coat? Taking an umbrella? Okay, okay. I know. There's not enough room in the locker at school. It's bulky/hot/stupid looking. Don't get me started on hats and gloves!

Early in the month, I start planning holiday meals. First I have to think of Thanksgiving--what to take to each house I go to on Thanksgiving, when to shop, when to cook. Can I make anything ahead of time or will it just get eaten?

Thanksgiving was usually the first holiday when my mom would make noodles. Egg noodles in chicken or turkey broth. My mouth is watering just thinking of it. I remember sheets of waxed paper with rounds of uncut noodle "dough" drying. Mom taught me to roll the rounds, cut into thin noodles and unroll them to finish drying. The strips always stuck together, and the challenge was to unroll each without tearing it. In my own small house, I've had my dining table filled with drying noodles, plus a card table, plus several TV trays. (Did you guess I like noodles?) My husband asked how much of each ingredient I needed and I had to calculate--for my family of noodle-lovers or for his? How many leftovers did we want? For how long? For how many people who'd want to take home some noodles?

I've never cared for turkey. For me, a plate of noodles on top of mashed potatoes (yes, I said on top of, not instead of), with some buttery corn is sufficient.

Until it's time for chocolate pie!

I try to be thankful for the blessings in my life every day, not just on Thanksgiving. So, now it's your turn--what does November mean to you?

Megan Kelly


Lynn said...

Hmmm, noodles for Thanksgiving? My mom made noodles for chicken soup, but we didn't dry them so they puffed up and soaked up a lot of broth. Probably not the best diet food but definately yummy.

And although I started adding a chocolate cheesecake, the traditional dessert at our family table was pumpkin pie.

I'm not going home to Idaho this year, staying in the St. Louis area. Maybe I'll ship them a cheesecake to remember me.

PamStone said...

The chill in the air and crackle of the first fire of the season. The scent of burning wood outside. Leaves turning in Texas and raking them into piles we could jump in, then have to rake again. Family as they arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, carrying huge containers of wonderful food. All my family, well, except me, are fantastic cooks. Pulling out my sweaters. The rich fall colors. I love the changing seasons and the nuances of each.

Megan Kelly said...

Lynn, STL is a good place to be, any season, but there's nothing like family for the holidays. If you REALLY want to ship a cheesecake somewhere... LOL
Pumpkin pie is a staple at our house, too; I just can't stand it. We always have chocolate pie. Chocolate cookie pie shells or shortbread pie shells add a little something extra to the taste. We also whip the cream--after the beaters and crock have been in the freezer all day. And noodles are good any time, sick or not.

Megan Kelly said...

Pam, Oooh, yes. A nice snuggly sweater! Bonfires (since we don't have a fireplace). You've hit on a few of my favorites. My front yard is several layers deep with leaves from the sweet gum tree. Beautiful while attached, a pain in the back when on the ground. :)

Linda Warren said...

When I think it's November I try not to panic. So much to do before the holidays and a book to finish. But there's something energizing about the rush and the excitement. I love this time of the year.

Linda Henderson said...

We start planning our Thanksgiving get-together and what we are going to eat. I don't know why we plan it, we have the same stuff every year.

Megan Kelly said...

Linda W, I remember the panic about presents to give and shopping to do and baking to finish when my kids were younger, but these days they ask for less and expect less. That makes me want to give more and do more than they ask, but it does take the pressure off.

Linda H, LOL. Yeah, I hear ya. We have the same thing too, and I'm usually asked to bring the same ole thing to dinner as a guest. My favorite request is a bought pie: Tippins French Silk. No pressure there to make sure whatever I bring turns out! :)