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Berries, birds, stories and too much food

I don’t think I’m ever going to eat again … this being a week after Thanksgiving.

However, there is a food-related topic that does hold some interest for me; not necessarily eating it, but just tracking down how “cran” got linked up with berries. So, what is the “cran” in cranberries?

The “cran” in cranberries is a bit hazy. It is possibly an adaptation of the German word “kraan” meaning “crane,” like the bird. Could it be cranes liked to eat them?

Or some say it is because the plant in some stages of development resembles the neck, head and bill of a crane.

Great berry, this festive red jewel that is now in my mind linked to a beautiful bird.

Do you know what is really good? Cranberries mushed up in a food processor with some orange zest, nuts and some other stuff (use your imagination). I disremember that I was not going to eat again, but, by golly, cranberries sauce is yummy!

If you like “craneberries,” I recommend you stock up now as these little jewels are hard to come by after Christmas. Freezing doesn’t appear to diminish its adaptability.

My husband and I spent Thanksgiving with his family in Scottsdale, Ariz. Conflicts often arise around holidays, weddings and anytime where expectations for how people should act are high. Everybody has his or her idea, and they think they are right. I’ve heard it all: interrupted conversation, bad humor, no humor, too many topics of a personal nature, ethnic or gender comments, too much politics, people who ask too many questions; people who ask none.

But a transcript of the five-hour back-and-forth between mouthfuls of turkey and cranberries around the Steen clan gathering would show conversational styles that registered little if any ill will.

Was everyone on their best behavior? Yes.

Did I enjoy the company of all present? You bet.

Were we all willing to overlook slights … the way something was said? Absolutely.

The most amazing part was the storytelling, from the 90-year-old grandmother to the youngest in the group, our 21-year-old daughter.

As each person adds to this oral quilt, the rest are respectful of timing, are aware of people who seem left out. Those who were doing most of the talking, knew when to hold back to give others the space they needed to chime in. I like that civility. Remember, it could be the way you say something to a relative (or a friend) — and not the mother-in-law’s gravy — that makes or breaks the day.

There is, however, a change I’d like to make next year: To honor Tom’s mom, we placed her in the traditional position of “head of the table” — in this case the end of a long, oblong table. She felt stranded there because she couldn’t hear and was unable to keep up with the chatter. It must have been a lonely vantage point.


Turkey Trot

Over 120 entrants showed up for this year’s annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. A great Pagosa tradition!

If you weren’t part of it this year, start making it part of your Turkey Day tradition next year.

Spectacular weather, great camaraderie with family and friends, and either a 5-mile run, or 2-mile walk to create a caloric deficit, was a great way to start the feast day.

With former cross country runner Kade Skoglund and the mother of a former cross country runner, Karen Bunning, pacing the men’s and women’s fields respectively, the Pirate cross country team was well represented at the front.

However, judging by the smiles on all the participants faces, the day certainly was not just about putting up fast times. It truly was more about celebrating life and all the opportunities that it presents, and being thankful that we all could enjoy that brief moment together in our beautiful corner of the world.

With that said, over $2,000 was generated for the Pagosa Lakes Porpoises Swim Team, and the cross country running club, thanks to the generosity of the event sponsors: Wolf Creek Ski Area, Hampton Construction, Brilliam Engineering, Strohecker Asphalt and Paving, The Rose Restaurant, Jody McAlister, Home Again, Cafe Colorado, Pagosa Springs Inns and Suites, Old West Press, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association and Pagosa Chiropractic, as well as the many happy participants.

Kudos to all and we certainly hope to see everyone return next year for more great times.