As far as I know, the little store, as everyone in the neighborhood calls it, is Eastmoreland's only storefront retail presence. Officially known as Eastmoreland Grocery and Market, it's been in business since the 1920s. Carol and Gary, who've run it for the past 20-some years, just sold it to a couple of local residents who plan to remodel and reopen as Eastmoreland Kitchen, a combination food store and deli. Last Saturday was closing day; the new owners hope to debut their revamped operation in about six weeks. I'll miss the funky ol' store with its year-round shelves of Santa Clauses, but I wish the new people well. I'm fantasizing a neighborhood hangout -- coffee in the morning, wine in the evening -- as well as a place to pick up emergency eggs or whatnot in the midst of dinner prep.
Last year we ordered our Thanksgiving turkey from the little store. This year it'll be New Seasons, I guess. Thanksgiving will be different in other respects as well. The Arcata clan won't be joining us. Victor's gone, and so's my mother. This will be the first Thanksgiving at our house without her. The plan is for my sister Karen to fly up from the Bay Area with a companion, and for Larry and Josh to wing in from Oahu and San Diego, respectively. Barring last-minute additions, there'll be just the six of us for dinner, the smallest Thanksgiving dinner Jerry and I have experienced together.
Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite holidays. It was all about inclusion, sweeping in the strays. And about food, of course -- feeding the multitudes, as Jer likes to say. Sometimes we had 25 or 30 people in for a sit-down dinner. The last few years, though, Thanksgiving time has seemed fraught for one reason or another. This year feels like a turning point, and small seems appropriate for right now. Next year I think we'll invent a new tradition.