I don’t remember much about my early Thanksgivings, those before high school. I remember the smell of wonderful baked goods, the sounds of my grandmother and aunts discussing food, seating arrangements and laughing over mishaps. I was the oldest grandchild so there was rarely another child to play with. We ate turkey and pumpkin pie of course and there was a relish plate and peas with baby onions, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls and cranberry sauce. I don’t remember much more about the food. I was too anxious to get out and play. We watched the Macy’s parade and the men would watch football while the women would clean up the mess. This sexist behavior always bothered me. Ah, the beginnings of a feminist.
There was one very memorable Thanksgiving. I was ten and my grandmother’s brother and his new family came to dinner. This included my new cousin Lynn who was about my age. After dinner we were allowed to go out and play. We walked down to the beach and I showed Lynn all my favorite hangouts. It started to get dark so we headed back. The darker it got the more fear set in which was exacerbated by Lynn who thought every car that drove by was out to get us so he’d yell out “Hit the dirt!” and down we went. Little did we know that all those cars that passed were our family searching for us. We were in so much trouble. With all the family there we didn’t get the typical “whippin’”, only a grounding. I haven’t seen Lynn since but this remains my favorite Thanksgiving memory.
When I was in high school I was a member of the twirling team and it was a requirement to perform at the final football game which was always on Thanksgiving afternoon. Little did I know my eighth grade thanksgiving would be the last I would spend with my family. After high school I moved a thousand miles away to attend college, this was too far to travel for only a few days so holiday travel was limited to Christmas. While I did have fun visiting friend’s family I do regret that I never returned home again for Thanksgiving.
When I was 30 years old I offered to host my first Thanksgiving celebration. I planned for months; menus and decorations, lots of crafts. In September I became very ill and wasn’t released to resume everyday activities until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I knew this wouldn’t be a problem as I’m an excellent planner and new everything would be fine. I prepared much of the food in advance as my energy would allow and froze it. Excited about my release I decided to take a break and play hide and seek with my girls. Ashley and I were hiding from Amber when we decided to break the rules…we ran in the house and then I ran my hand into a door. I drove myself to the hospital with my five-year-old working the stick shift. The diagnosis…a broken hand. Two days before my big Thanksgiving celebration. Undaunted by my mishap I quickly made calls and arranged for help. Thanks to the friends and family who came to my rescue the meal was a success and everyone had a wonderful time.
Our Thanksgiving today is rather small; me, my two girls, Kai and sometimes a couple of friends. I miss the big family gatherings but I’m so thankful for what I do have. Not many people could live with their kids and grandkids in such a small home but we make it work. We are so blessed to have each other. We had pizza for dinner instead of turkey and we shared a donut instead of pumpkin pie. We didn’t want to do the big dinner since Amber has to work tonight but tomorrow we feast on all the traditional goodies.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Hope everyone had a wonderful time with family and friends and I hope everyone ate too much.