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Holiday Traditions - Part 2

"Leftovers and Libations"
A Begert-Clark Holiday Tradition

For most, Thanksgiving is the "official" start of the holiday season. But at the Begert-Clarks it is the day after that truly ushers in the yuletide.

Of course we gather for the traditional feast with our children and grandchildren on Thanksgiving Day. But Thursday's feast becomes Friday's leftovers, right? What better way to spread holiday cheer than by spreading around the remaining turkey and all the fixins!

Thus was born the idea for "Leftovers and Libations," the annual gathering held at our home on the day after Thanksgiving, for the purpose of helping others to "unload" their own leftovers and to "kick off" the holiday season among friends.

Having just celebrated its 10th anniversary, the gathering has taken on a life all its own! Invitations (also left over from the prior year - only the date changes!) are issued in early November to some 50 guests who look with great anticipation for its arrival.

The particulars for this holiday tradition are quite simple. To gain entry to the festivities, guests must bring a leftover from their Thanksgiving dinner table in the original plate, bowl or platter on which it was served.

That's right! No freshly baked pies, no foods transferred into fresh serving bowls, and nothing prepared on Friday (and we can tell - we have ways!) Certain "adult libations" are provided by the hosts - guests tend to "fill in the gaps" in the beverage department.

As guests arrive they enter our home with items such as a pan clinging to two remaining slices of pumpkin pie, two pitiful-looking deviled eggs displayed on the same dish that so beautifully held a dozen just the day before, and a turkey carcass bearing one remaining leg! Food covers every inch of our ten-foot dining room table as well as every possible counter space in the kitchen!

This year the center piece on the table was a completely devoured turkey carcass, a placard above which read: "My brother received the presidential pardon! I always hated that boy!" The plate was adorned with red, plastic apples and a delightful herb garnish - It was quite the hit!

One guest even brought a bowl containing leftover corn with its serving spoon still in it from the day before. The bowl was empty by party's end!

Our home is small by some standards, but the holiday revelers never seem to mind rubbing elbows and moving about the crowded room. Seating might also be at a premium, but no one complains. Laughter, cheer and holiday greetings abound until the wee hours of the morning.

And then we clean up . . . That's for another article.

Tom Begert-Clark


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