Years ago, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was one of my favorite nights of the year. I enjoyed going out midweek and seeing people in town for the holiday and knowing that, most years, I had an extended weekend ahead of me.
Two years ago, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my dad died. Last year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my friend and colleague Tim Cuprisin passed away. Needless to say, this is no longer one of my favorite days of the year.
But this is not intended to be a depressing piece of writing, even though it's starting out that way. Instead, I want to convey how I have changed the way I celebrate Thanksgiving based on what's happened over the past two years â€“ and I'm at peace with it.
I still go out on Wednesday night, but instead of hanging in the bars, I prefer to check out the holiday lights in Cathedral Square. The thousands of lights are majestic and festive, but what I really like the most about being in that park at night is swinging on the swing set at some point during my visit.
I'm not a religious person, but there's something about swinging towards the sky that I have enjoyed more in the past couple of years than I have since I was a kid. And my kids love that I've taken up swinging. (OK, insert "swinger" joke here if you must.)
I also plan to spend my third Thanksgiving dinner in a row at Maharaja, 1550 N. Farwell Ave. The first year, I thought I might find the experience kind of depressing â€“ like some of my Jewish friends who go out to Chinese restaurants on Christmas Day have reported to feel. But for me, it wasn't depressing at all.
We went around lunchtime, maybe a little later, and the room was filled with diners, clearly not going turkey traditional, who were upbeat and interactive. We made a lot of eye contact, smiled, photographed each other.
We drank tall Kingfishers, stuffed ourselves on palak paneer and vegetable korma and samosas and naan and mango ice cream. (The buffet is available from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and costs $12, about $2 more than usual but there's usually more meat dishes).
After, we usually go to a movie, preferably at the opulent Oriental Theater. I remember from my years of working at the Prospect Mall Cinema that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year. I loved working holidays just to escape my own family drama for a few hours.
I've found that old traditions are wonderful, but only if they still work for you. Don't force them. Sometimes, new traditions are necessary, healthy and fun.
I do admit, however, that although I look forward to my newfangled Thanksgiving Day, I still miss the stuffing. Guess that's what Stove Top's for â€“ it ain't grandma's, but it'll do.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Nov. 27, 2015
On a recent Friday afternoon, we stopped in for lunch at Liquid Johnny's in West Allis. No, we did not have a "liquid lunch," despite the name of the bar and restaurant, but we certainly thought about it.
Published Nov. 26, 2015
The Black Friday shopping experience is a big, mixed bag of savings and safety issues. Milwaukee's Melanie Rice and Bryan Zysk know this first-hand. One even suffered a broken foot in a brawl over a DVD player.
Published Nov. 25, 2015
Recently, OnMilwaukee's Molly Snyder went to the Brew City Bruisers Boot Camp to test her roller skating skills and bad assery. Turns out, she spent a lot of time on her bad ass.
Published Nov. 24, 2015
Candy Cane Lane will celebrate 30 years this season when it plugs in the lights on Friday, Nov. 27. They will stay aglow through Sunday, Dec. 27.
Published Nov. 22, 2015
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin offers an array of social services, including The Robyn's Nest, run by Lona Long and a team of volunteers to provide clothing and other items to kids and foster families.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
Earlier this week, after looking at tragic photos of Syrian refugee children on Facebook, Gretchen Mead decided she was going to invite refugees to stay in extra rooms in her bungalow-style home in Shorewood.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
Suddenly, the warm-and-comfy factor in bars is a big deal, and so OnMilwaukee stepped up and went out on a couple of windy, chilly nights last week to scout out some of the city's coziest bars.
Published Nov. 19, 2015
Recently, we posted a story about the now-defunct Captain's Steak Joynt chain of restaurants and many readers remembered its famous cheese fondue. We got the recipe and last night we made it.
Published Nov. 19, 2015
Anyone who likes sipping, shopping and indulging should head over to Brady Street tomorrow - that's Friday, Nov. 20 - for the block's Holiday Open House.
Published Nov. 18, 2015
Anyone who's lived in Milwaukee has heard chatter about Summerfest caring more about beer sales than live music. However, local musician Eoin McCarthy has a story about how the Big Gig rallied around his music.