At my own home, the table will have all its leaves in place and a nice tablecloth atop it. It isn't Irish linen. I actually have one, but have never used it. It was a wedding gift more than fifty years ago. There are matching napkins too. Never used those either. The thing is, the linen is so beautiful I could never bring myself to subject it to spills and tip-overs. Gravy is difficult to remove; so is cranberry. What I use instead, is an inexpensive tablecloth that won't drive me to tears if something gets spilled on it. Why set myself up for stress? My napkins match. They are wash and wear. That works for me.
This year my table will look like something out of a vegan magazine. The chicken won't be chicken, but the vegetables will be real, roasted with garlic and rosemary or ginger and sage. The potatoes will be mashed and infused with soy milk rather than dairy and the green bean casserole will be cast of beans and mushrooms in a tofu yogurt and topped with sliced almonds. The sweet potatoes will be roasted and peeled, then topped with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. The food will be good and my guests will be amazed. They may even ask for the recipes.
As much as I adore my ghosts of Christmas past, my health demanded I make changes and I remain so thankful for the doctor that finally diagnosed my longstanding intestinal disease and changed my diet to vegan. I'm nearly a year vegan now and no more emergency surgeries or long stays in the hospital with tubes down my throat and into my stomach, trying to get a twisted intestine to go back to normal. No more being cut open and dissected and put back together again, with the hope that the intestines will still function as normal. The best part is how much better I feel, what with the constant abdominal pain and nausea now a thing of the past.
I continue to understand that not everyone wants to eat vegan. I'm fine with that. Personally, I don't feel it's wrong to eat meat or dairy. I just know it's wrong for my own health, and I give others any leeway they need to eat as they choose. Had I not been diagnosed correctly and instructed to change the way I eat, I would still be eating the way I used to. But I wouldn't have lost forty-five pounds or had skin so soft and dewy people ask me what I'm doing to make it look so good. When you're over seventy years old, almost wrinkle-free with young looking skin, and all you've done is change your whole diet to vegan, the results speak for themselves.
My family will all be in town within the next couple of days, so I won't see you again till next year. God bless you and keep you.