Thanksgiving is a time for family, feasting, and the airing of memories. I know my family when they get together always wants to share stories and memories of a time gone by. If you wait long enough there will always be the embarrassing stories that they just love to share about t the other members but not really wanting to hear about themselves. You know that happens.
Anyway, my Thanksgiving memory is of a ton of people at a table. There were seven of us kids and when we lived in Hawaii, there were those who were in port that did not have duty that came over. Our house was basically an open door. We lived in Pearl Harbor and if you were a sailor or a soldier and had the ability, you were welcome to hang out. That invitation was good for Thanksgiving and any other day of the week. AS a kid, I never really questioned it. I did have older sisters so there were always young sailors and soldiers at our house. Always. I thought they were there for the food alone until I grew up.
So imagine the table at our house there was always at minimum 10 people sitting for dinner and many times more than 15. On a normal day, the pots of spaghetti and the stacks of bread on the table were taller than I was. You learned to be fast and there was a definite boarding house reach one needed to develop, but not on Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, everything was passed to the right. Everyone had enough. = to eat and there was a little bit ore politeness at the table. Please pass the salt and do not use it as you passed it
“Please pass the sweet taters”
At the table, we of course had the turkey that my mom labored over all day. Took forever to cook a turkey, like all day! Mom would open the oven up once an hour or so and with the help of whomever drained the juices out of the Turkey roasting pan and rebasted the bird. It smelled sooo good then. Put the foil back on and back into the oven with the turkey, until the last bit then no foil so the skin could get nice and brown. My sister Beth loved that skin. I thought it was gross. Since the oven was on all day, we played outside or on the lanai where it was cooler. On the Lanai, there was usually a board game of some sort going on, Sorry, Parcheesi, Chess, maybe checkers happening.
When it was time to eat, we sat down to a table that could not hold all the food. We all pulled up the chairs the stools, the lawn chairs, whatever we had to sit on and we all made noise about the turkey and the food. It was exciting as a kid to see that much food at the table and I was sure I could eat it all up myself. Lots of noise until time to pray, then the youngest was asked to say grace, which came out in a rush:
“Blessed our Lord for these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord Amen.”
Followed immediately by:
“Here’s bread, here’s meat thank God let’s eat.”
And eat we did. There was always turkey and stuffing (blech on stuffing). There were peas, corn, squash, and sweet taters. Oh my favorite sweet taters! Made with butter and brown sugar and marshmallows on top. YUM!! There was potatoes and gravy. There were rolls with butter. There was the cranberry sauce, the jellied type from the can. I used to help put it on the fancy dish and cut it. For a long time I thought the lines on the cranberry jelly (from the can) were the guides for slicing the sauce.
After dinner there was homemade pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream, there was apple pie and pecan pie. My sister made delicious raisin bread baked in the cans the cranberry came from. The grownups had coffee us kid hot chocolate. It took a long time for dessert to be served though because they cleared off the table before the dessert. Oh, that dessert was delicious and we could have as much as we wanted.
Thanksgiving was a fun time for sure and the traditions stayed with me as I grew up and became a mom myself. My kids had the same spread I did as a kid. They didn’t have the amount of people that sat at dinner that I did and have to admit that is a shame. They did have good times though and good food. We would sit and say something we were thankful for.
Today, my kids are busy with their own things. My son does come over but we do not have the turkey dinner like we used to. The last couple of Thanksgiving we went to Grandpa Bears so that we could spend time before he passed. Usually, though, the boys go dirt bike riding, Thanksgiving being one of the last times they can go before the trails are no good. Then they come home and we have thanksgiving pizza (that away I am not stuck in kitchen cooking all day) and we play games.
I hope that whatever your family does, it is filled with love and laughter. Honestly that is what thanksgiving really is, love and laughter and enjoying each other. You never know how much time one has on this earth so enjoy your family while you can. Even that annoying brother or auntie is missed once they are gone.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND YOURS.