T hanksgiving is always one of my favorite times of the year, not just because of the delicious food and the quality time spent with family, but because it’s one of the few weekends when I get the opportunity to totally take a break from the daily hustle and bustle of running a business. Some people get stressed out managing the holidays, but for me, the entire Thanksgiving weekend feels like a vacation. Everything shuts down, the family eats meal after meal together, and no one has anything on their to- do list. The evening before the big day, my in-laws, who live locally, make their way to our place to stay the night and brace themselves for the enormous meal preparations that will commence Thanksgiving morning. Their early arrival greatly reduces our stress, and it means we get to cook as a family right away, without waiting around. Plus, it gives my older son, Owen, and his Mimi a chance to observe their long- standing tradition. Every year, Owen and his Mimi spend the evening before Thanksgiving teaming up to bake a couple delicious pecan and pumpkin pies, guided by her recipe. She puts the ingredients together while Owen studiously rolls out the pie crusts and puts the pies in the oven. I gotta say, the two bake a mean pie — a treat we all look forward to fitting in after stuffing ourselves with the holiday feast. I might be happy with just a big dish of mashed potatoes with gravy and a slice of turkey on Thanksgiving, but the whole family cooks up all the staples: mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, the works. It’s a fantastic meal, often the best of the year, and the leftovers are even better. The morning after Thanksgiving, we throw some mashed potatoes in a pan, fry them up, throw a fried egg on top, and smother it in gravy. Between that and the inevitable turkey sandwiches, I’m in heaven.

The day after the big meal, the whole family, along with a few friends, heads up into the Santa Cruz mountains to cut down a Christmas tree. After all that hard work, we lay out a picnic and chow down on those delicious leftovers. It’s one of the best days of the year. But the celebration doesn’t stop there. Most years, we’re either hosting or joining in on a second Thanksgiving dinner at our house, at our in- laws’, or with my wife’s brother’s family out in Sacramento, depending on the year. This way we get to meet up with all our sons’ cousins and relatives and make time for even more of the extended family. And, of course, we get to indulge in an entire additional Thanksgiving feast, turkey and all. I’ve talked a lot about the food here, but we all know that Thanksgiving is really about the people you spend it with. I’m incredibly thankful for such a happy, healthy family, and a career I love. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for more.

Dr. Fabrice Rockich

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