Every Wednesday before Thanksgiving when I was in college, I would flop into the house with a duffle full of laundry. After hugs, kisses and a little criticism about my hairstyle, I was lead into the kitchen to help with Thanksgiving preparations. Always, I would walk into the kitchen and see the same thing I had seen since I was born.
On the dining room table was the finest display of imaginary food I had ever seen. Stove Top stuffing boxes sitting in an empty casserole dish, a green china bowl with a post-it note saying "cranberry sauce" like a reserved parking space, and cans of string beans and cream of mushroom soup in a pyramid where the string bean casserole would go.
It was an organization process passed down for generations of obsessive moms and grandmas. That display was the same as the one in my grandmother's house, and before that, my great-grandmother's. After additions and subtractions to the family and guest list, playing tetris with the tables to make sure everyone could fit, and moving to a new house, that table was always a constant I can count on seeing every single year.
I am thankful for these funny little traditions that make me smile.