Thinking back to the Thanksgivings of my childhood I remember waking to the mouthwatering smell of turkey roasting in the oven. I recall staggering out of bed and curling up in front of the TV to watch the Thanksgivings Day parades. My favorite was the Macy’s Parade with the giant balloons and the appearance of Santa Claus, but mom loved the flower covered floats of the Rose Bowl Parade so we would take turns switching back and forth.
I remember trying to stay out of the way as my dad and brother maneuvered our dining table through the tiny kitchen door. They would set it up in the living room and add the extension leafs and folding chairs to accommodate all the dinner guests. Then I would help set the table with the good white table cloth, the plates we borrowed from my grandmother and mom’s special cut glass dishes we saved just for the holidays.
I think about the wonderful dishes we passed around the table, the stuffing and the candied yams covered in sweet buttery syrup. I also remember that mom made two special vegetable dishes, favorites of my fathers that she only made for Thanksgiving and Easter: creamed cauliflower and Brussel sprouts. Now, as an adult I would enjoy them too but back then I passed them down the line and filled my plate with mashed potatoes and carrots instead.
I remember how, when the turkey was crisp and succulent, dad would use our handy electric knife to slice off as much as he could making sure to include lots of dark meat, my grandmothers favorite. He filled the platter to overflowing and then refilled it when we were ready for seconds. After dinner he would trim off as much as he could and wrap up the remainder for my grandmother to use for turkey noodle soup. I always made sure he saved the turkey’s wishbone so one of my sisters and I could each take a side, make a silent wish then pull it apart to break. The tradition was that the person who ended up holding the largest half would get their wish.
I think about how, the day before Thanksgiving each year, my dad would to climb up into the attic to retrieve the big roasting pan my mom used for the turkey. The kitchen in our tiny ranch style house had very little cabinet space so the pan lived in the attic between uses. I really remember (probably because the story has been told over and over) how one year after dinner my dad was trying to help get everything cleaned up and inadvertently put the roaster back up in the attic before anyone had gotten a chance to wash it!! Boy was that a surprise when he pulled it back down at Christmas! I suppose they were happy it was just up there from November to December during the cold weather and not from Christmas to Easter!
More than anything, though, when I think back to the Thanksgivings of my childhood I think about the wonderful feeling of togetherness, the warmth, the laughter, the many blessing we had. I’m extra thankful that I’m able to carry on those traditions with my husband, children and the family we have today. I hope my children will always remember their childhoods just as fondly.
What memories are you thankful for this holiday?