Thanksgiving 2019 arrives this coming Thursday, bringing with it a multitude of memories. When I was a little girl, our Thanksgiving celebration was a small one — my parents, grandparents, my sister and me. The turkey was fresh from a local farm, the pies made by my mother (with me helping to roll the dough), and the table was set with my mother’s best “china”, many pieces of which still reside in my own china closet. While I always looked forward to this special day, it somehow felt as if a “real” Thanksgiving should have more people around the table.
I married into a family whose Thanksgiving dinner was much larger. The faces around my mother-in-law’s table also included aunts, uncles and cousins, and later, my own babies and my little nephew. It was a day to celebrate family, as well as give thanks for the good things in our lives.
As my mother-in-law aged, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law’s house — such a lovely place to be, with her fireplace adding warmth and atmosphere as we ate. As the family grew, we never knew for certain quite how many cousins and second cousins would be there, but the food was always plentiful, and there was ALWAYS room for one more at the table.
Through the years, there were only a few times that I hosted Thanksgiving; we always gathered at my house for Christmas dinner, until my daughters-in-law took over the Christmas celebration. Last Thanksgiving we all gathered here, but my old Victorian house with its many rooms, does not have one room large enough to hold our growing family. Somehow, a buffet-style Thanksgiving lacked that beautiful feeling of family gathered around one table. This year, our ever-growing family will be at my son’s house, where we can all sit together to celebrate our day of Thanks.
Holidays are a time of both celebration for the family surrounding us, and sadness for those who have passed from this world. There have been many Thanksgivings when our hearts were aching, but the traditions helped us through our losses. We may have had tears in our eyes, but we also had the beautiful memories of our loved ones to cherish.
Somehow, after all the years that have passed, with my dream of large family celebrations answered, one of my fondest Thanksgiving memories will always be helping my mother to roll out her delicious pie crust in our little kitchen (sampling pieces as I helped). My heart misses her gentle heart and her kindness. By the way, she did not enjoy cooking, and usually ended up with a terrible migraine when dinner was set out on the table — Love you Mom!!