Early this morning, when all the house was still asleep, I started
procrastinating searching for Important Things on the internet. I accidently found myself doing a little bit of blog-hopping when I came across a post that touched me deeply. The author wrote about how sad Thanksgiving was for her. I found myself reading and nodding along as she wrote that while she was happy to be included in so many Thanksgivings with her friends, she was mostly just deeply missing having her entire family gathered around the table.
I kept this blogger’s thoughts with me as I set about my work. I have to admit that I had myself a bit of a pity party as I remembered the huge family gatherings from my youth. We had very different childhoods and as much as Shaun indulges me, he just doesn’t understand that I need lot of people around me to share the holidays with. He just didn’t get my melancholy over the fact that our plans had fallen through and that we were on our own for the day. Holidays were never a bit deal for him, but it was all about family for me. I can remember running wild with my cousins while the women cooked as they gossiped in the kitchen and the men did Manly Things like set up a table system that would seat at least twenty people. It was a few days of chaos and pandemonium. It was..simply wonderful.
For this lonesome holiday I had planned on making just a few simple dishes instead of the Great Feast. That, of course, was before everyone started putting their request in. As I set about preparing our dishes, I started to remember…to really think…about where each of these special recipes had originated and who I assoiciated with each of them.
My Aunt Aleta first brought the 7-Up Jello Salad to one of our gatherings. (Although I’m not sure how one can call a strange mixture of Jello, cream cheese, pineapple and 7-Up a salad) We all loved it and it was immediately added it to our Must-Have list. I had to grin as I chopped the sweet potatoes up and thought of our friend Stephen and how much he detests them. As I watched my fingers cut maraschino cherries into small bits for Glorified Rice, I suddenly saw my grandma’s gnarled hands doing the same exact thing. As I formed small balls of dough and covered them to rise, I thought of the traditional Brown N’ Serve rolls that were nearly always forgotten and someone had to run to the store for. On and on it went…the memories started flowing over me. From the year the pilot light on the oven went out leaving us with a raw turkey to the olives that we kids stuck to the ends of our fingers thinking we were so clever.
As the morning wore on, my lightened and I started, just as the blogger I had visited earlier, to feel the gratitude for all that I have. It may not have been the huge gathering of my youth that I longed to recreate, but I did have my immediate family with me all day long. I also had the memories of each Thanksgiving that I have celebrated through the years. They are all special days and I’m glad to have them.
I can only hope that we have made enough wonderful memories with our girls to sustain them if they ever need a little help remembering how much they have to be thankful for…