Thanksgiving Memories

A large family gathered around a table sharing a meal and clinking glasses for a toeast.

Thanksgiving was my favorite day of the year when I was growing up. Every year my grandma (mom’s mom) had Thanksgiving at her home. I can’t say Thanksgiving dinner, because it wasn’t just dinner – it was an all-day event.

Journey back with me if you will to a time when there were no cell phones, no social media or texting; a time when families gathered and talked to one another or played games while the turkey roasted and the house filled with the sounds and smells of the holiday. I especially like to think back on that era this year when Thanksgiving feels so very different. It gives me a short break from all the pandemic news, to just daydream of much different times in years past.

Most years we would start the day with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I remember listening to the announcers as they described all the balloons and floats. I loved the music and dance performances, especially the high-kicking Rockettes! Even though I couldn’t see a lot of what was happening on the television, just listening to it all just made me so happy and excited! For me there has always been a feeling of magic and wonder around the Macy’s parade.

After the parade everyone got all cleaned up and we ventured to grandma’s house. Grandma had five children, each of whom had at least three of their own children. So yes, it was a packed house, but we always had enough room and food for everyone! All of us kids would play outside or in the living room while the grown-ups gathered around the kitchen table and talked or helped grandma cook the feast.

We always had a huge spread on the table. You could smell the turkey and dressing roasting for hours that day. Oh, and the chocolate pie – that was my grandma’s specialty. The scent of that chocolate pie wafted through the air like the background music of the best holiday movie you’ve ever seen.

Thanksgiving meal in serving dishes on a table.

As I’ve gotten older I see even less than I did then. Now that I have Thanksgiving dinners at my own house, I think back to all those memories and the things that I remember from those days. The smells, the sounds, and the tastes of Thanksgiving are what I try to create in my own home for my children to enjoy. Focusing what I do have in my life, and all the things I can do for my family, helps me think less about the vision I don’t have.

This Thanksgiving is going to be a little different for all of us, but I am thankful for the many ways I have to enjoy the holiday season with the people I love. I’ll savor the taste of the savory mashed potatoes and gravy. I’ll inhale the mouthwatering aroma of the pumpkin pie we will share after the meal. I’ll tune in just a little longer and let my ears linger on the sounds of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, football later in the day, and the sounds of my kids laughing and playing with the dogs. These are the things I’m most thankful for this year.

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