Thanksgiving Memories

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. It is as close to a non-commercialized event as I suppose we can get (although many retailers want to drag us into a “Black Friday” shopping mood even sooner than Thanksgiving Day itself—shame on them and us for, excuse the pun, buying into their consumer hysteria). Most holidays are an occasion for families getting together, and in my family the one day we really made the effort to be together was Thanksgiving. We always met at my aunt and uncle’s home. There could be twenty to thirty aunts, uncles, Grandpa (Grandma had died years before), and cousins, and Aunt Marian and Uncle Foozy (Yes, that was his name—at least that’s the only name I knew him by until I was in my 20’s when I found out his real name was LeRoy. Foozy was a nickname he got when a kid and it stuck until the day he died.) Aunt Marian and Uncle Foozy’s home was not large enough to sit everyone at one table.

So…the adults sat at the “big” table in the dining room and the rest of us sat at several card tables in the living room and den. The living room and dining room were separated by a pony wall about six feet high so everyone could sort of hear what was going on in the other room, but, really, we kids didn’t care what was going on in the other room!

The meal began in the late afternoon and would last until late in the evening as we usually had the main dinner, then spent time relaxing (the adult men took naps!), playing games in the back yard, or watching the football game. The dinner dishes would be cleaned, the tables reset and we would then have dessert—a variety of pies; pumpkin, mince (whatever that was) apple and pecan. As dessert was served the most common phrase I remember being said was, “I’ll have a sliver of each!”

A really memorable Thanksgiving happened when I was 19. Grandpa had died that year and was dearly missed. I was in college, but made a point of being there. I was ready to join the other cousins in the living room at a card table for dinner when I was invited to come sit at the “big” table. The “big” table! In that moment I became an adult in the eyes of the family. And to top it off I was asked to say the blessing, something Grandpa always said. He taught me my first Bible verse you know. John 3:16. I love those memories.

The years have come and gone and my wife, Sara, and the kids (who are now both away at college now) have come to develop our own Thanksgiving traditions. Since we don’t have a lot of family we can either visit or have over, we invite people we know will be in the same situation. We are, after all, one big human family, aren’t we?

One of my favorite memories of recent Thanksgiving meals is the time we had friends over and one of them, as we got up and went into the kitchen to dish up our plates, set her napkin on the table, but too close to a candle, and set the table on fire! Not a big fire. But it did leave a mark. Sara and I talk about refinishing the table top, but somehow I’d miss that burn mark, you know?

I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am to be loved, to have a place to call home, and to live in this great community. What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!