As I sit down to write this, it occurs to me it doesn’t seem as though a year should have already passed.
My wonderful Carson City community knows I have a long and passionate love affair with music, and as I sit here, snippet’s of Chicago’s, “Does Anybody Know What Time It is,” and Al Stewart’s classic, “Time Passages,” travel through my brain. And of course, those of us of a “certain age,” know too, coming upon us on Thanksgiving Day, is the inevitable playing on some radio stations of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” an accounting of an event that occurred Thanksgiving Day 1965, in which Guthrie was cited for littering, a ticket which inevitably led to him being refused for the Vietnam draft. He was deemed to not have the moral character to go to war, due to his “crime.” Guthrie’s satirical recounting of a time of unrest seems just as applicable today, reminding me in the simplest terms, history repeats and somehow, some way, we always find our way through. I encourage you younger ones out there to give this work a listen, as both a way to remember where we’ve been and a sign of hope we do survive. Plus, it’s just a great piece of art, so to speak.
This past year, as too many times recently, our town has experienced a year of goodness, which we welcome, combined with some challenges. The most difficult this year, has been the passing of Carson City Sheriff Deputy Carl Howell. If there’s one positive to come from this, it’s perhaps the greater conversation about domestic violence, which has started. I encourage everyone to take a moment and remember amidst the busy-ness of the season, to count even the tiniest of blessings.
For the first time in a long time, Karen and I are going to be home this year, cooking for our family. While I love serving others, I’m looking forward to a close gathering infused with joy, laughter, good food and drink. Making memories with the ones we love really is the heart of Thanksgiving, as is remembering the less fortunate in our community. Because at the end of the day, it’s always about the time we have.
I encourage everyone to do what they can to help those in need. Every contribution of time, money and food adds up to making a difference in the lives of others. Local organizations such as the Ron Wood Center, Friends in Service Helping (FISH), various churches and Advocates to End Domestic Violence have resources available for those in need and they also welcome the support needed to provide such services. In Dayton, the Food Pantry is also taking up collections. Turkey collections by all these agencies are underway. The Carson City Nugget’s annual dinner, served to anyone needing or wanting Thanksgiving Dinner on Thanksgiving Day, can always use volunteers. The dinner is co-sponsored by FISH and those wanting to volunteer can call 775-882-3474.
Every year is marked by certain, reoccurring events. Sitting down to write my annual Thanksgiving column is one of those things, and I am always surprised the time between one Thanksgiving and the next seems shorter each year.
I think as we get older the idea that time is truly precious is underscored. Suddenly things that have been pushed to the side — creative endeavors — new or returning to things we loved as kids and had all the time in the world to do, unexplored adventures, heck, just taking time to enjoy the beauty of a craft beer or the feel of a crackling fire on a crisp Nevada night, all become more meaningful.
The recent loss of loved ones and watching the horror unfolding in California — the devastation that is hard to conceive, lost lives, entire towns decimated — besides saddening and maddening, has brought into very sharp focus that which matters most.
Even though I try to live daily a life that is intentional and gratitude-filled, these occurrences as well as the time of year we’re in, I find myself focused even more in that direction.
This uniquely American holiday called Thanksgiving is set aside for the sole purpose of counting our blessings. Family Day, which follows, calls us to remember and share time with those closest to us.
We are at a time when more than ever, it is important to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, to invite them in, lift them up by supporting the food pantry or outreach program of your choice. A bag of groceries, cash donations, or inviting someone to share Thanksgiving are all wonderful options. Look down your street, and if you see or suspect there is a need, leave the makings for dinner on the doorstep. Let’s share our gratitude and spread some love. God knows we need it, now more than ever.
As most of you know, this cooking I do is deeply rooted in rich tradition and a long family history, which formally goes back three generations. My family, of Lebanese descent, has long honored the traditional recipes and ties to the old country, while finding joy in interpreting and integrating the “old” ways into our lives as Americans. My dad, Paul Abowd, first had a restaurant in The City (San Francisco). My folks came from San Jose to Carson City in 1977,where they opened Adele’s, named for my mother.
Karen and I bought the restaurant in 1997 and have passionately pursued this love of food and the familial and social aspects of it, daily. It has been one of our greatest honors to share our family recipes with the community.
And so it is always a special treat when I reach for Mom’s worn, black Rolodex. It is in this small box that she kept her favorite recipes. Some she conjured up, refining each one over time until the end result matched her commitment to excellence. Others she gathered along the way, while traveling with Dad.
Being able to open the box, to have her recipes written in her own hand and on her signature stationary, is comforting in its continuity. Her heart and soul was poured into her family, her love of cooking and into her community. A small part of that love, passion and commitment is captured on each page. There are moments when I go about my daily duties here at Cafe at Adele’s, that her inspiration and presence is palpable. I hear her voice…add a bit of this or a pinch of that….an acknowledgment that we have done well, Karen and I, by our community, and sometimes as moms are want to do, I hear her say, “that is not the way I did it.”
She is here every day in the little details, in my decisions and in the execution of her recipes.
Added March 29th, 2018… (Published in the Nevada Appeal)
We’ve been experiencing the joys of springtime in Nevada these past days, with all its unpredictability and days that bring us everything from sunshine and warm temps right back to snow, “snain” and everything else. It’s certainly never boring! And while our local weather folks are predicting sunshine for our Easter weekend, anyone who’s been here more than a minute knows the odds of hunting eggs in the snow or not are about equal.
Either way, Easter is a time for family and friends and a priceless opportunity to make memories, full of color and smiling children super-charged on too much sugar and bunny-induced excitement. Enjoy every moment!
Speaking of enjoyable moments …
Tickets for the 10th annual Concert Under the Stars, A Benefit for The Greenhouse Project, July 11, are on sale now at http://www.carsoncitygreenhouse.org. Carson City welcomes Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s Jefferson Starship and Midnight North, led by Grahame Lesh, son of The Dead’s Phil Lesh … yep! I’m looking forward to this. Thanks to John Procaccini and Chili Bop Entertainment for your professionalism and generosity each year. Putting on this show requires a lot of planning, energy and heart from a lot of people, mostly volunteers, and thanks to the community, the show has grown every year allowing TGP to continue its mission of “Growing a Greener & Healthier Carson City.”
Thanks to each of you! And happy Easter.