Over dinner last night, I mentioned that I felt so bad for Thanksgiving as it is a forgotten holiday. My family wasn’t buying into my thoughts about November’s holiday. Everyone knows about Thanksgiving and everyone loves to enjoy a feast they argued.
I refuted by reminding them that it’s become the four-day-gorge-yourself-weekend that comes after Halloween, and serves as the starting line for Black Friday. In fact, hardly anyone even calls it Thanksgiving anymore, it’s becoming known more commonly as “Turkey Day.”
As I child, I remember Thanksgiving as a day for all of our family to gather together and just be. The had women planned for weeks who was going to bring what, and which house it was going to be at. When it was at our house, I can remember Mom getting up at what seemed the crack of dawn to prepare the stuffing and turkey for it’s time in the oven.
My brother and I would stare out the window, (when Mom didn’t have us busy doing something) watching for cars of our relatives to show up. One by one, a car would slow down and park in front of our house. We would dutifully hug our grandparents or aunt or uncle and then take off with a cousin. There weren’t that many of us, but we all enjoyed each other’s company and had to hurry and catch up for time lost.
When it was finally time to eat, we would all sit down at a table that spanned the entire length of our enclosed patio. Adults were at one end, and kids were at the other. I can still remember standing at the end of the table, looking down and seeing all those faces I loved so dearly.
Before anyone was allowed to eat, we would all quiet down and bow our heads. We were supposed to be thinking about the good things we had in our lives, (but I’m sure most of us were thinking about the mashed potatoes right in front of us.) and then Grandma would prepare to say the same prayer that she said every year. In her raspy lifetime smoker’s voice, she would say,
We thank thee Lord
for the food that thou has provided
Bless it, and abide with us always
In Jesus’ name, Amen
It’s not the meal that I remember, it’s the feeling of family. Of being thankful to be together with the same wonderful people, with the same exact tradition year in and year out. There was no planning of the best Black Friday route. No Christmas decorations in sight. Just being together. Laughing, giggling and sharing secrets.
Our family has scattered to all areas of the country. As my grandfather predicted, once he, the last of his generation died, we no longer gathered. We celebrate with different friends, a family that we have created, if you will.
It’s always a good day. Yet, I can’t help but feel as though most people think it’s just something that has to be done in order to get to the real December holidays. Then again, maybe I’m just being a bit melancholy for those memories of old.
I hope you plan on enjoying your feast, and spare a few moments to think about the many things you have to be thankful for. And try not to think too much about the mashed potatoes while you are doing so.