Thanksgiving was never a big deal when I was very young. We didn’t have turkey or stuffing or family gathered around. I don’t know why we didn’t celebrate it. My mom was always saying she was thankful for this or that. Maybe she didn’t need a special day to remind her to be thankful. So far as I know none of my mother’s people made a special day of the fourth Thursday of November.
I learned about Thanksgiving when I started school. In first grade, we had ditto sheets to color. (Remember the smell of ditto sheets?) There was the usual turkey with his fall colored feathers. The pilgrims were not as interesting to color in their black and white as the Indians [sic] in their festive feathers and costumes. We learned that the pilgrims would have starved had not the natives brought them food which they all shared at a common table. Fine thing the immigrants did to repay the natives, but I won’t get into that now.
I learned about Thanksgiving from the television we got for Christmas when I was eight. There I saw the Macy’s Parade and shows where extended family gathered around a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
I learned to cook early. I remember when I was 13 coming home from school the day before Thanksgiving and baking pumpkin pies while I helped a friend with her homework. It must have been around that time that we started inviting my mom’s uncle and his family for dinner. I can’t remember, but I must have instigated the whole celebration. I wanted a life like I saw on TV.
In following years, I cooked the dinner for our little bit of extended family. Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pies and some vegetables. I enjoyed seeing Mom’s uncle and his family gobble down the gobbler. To be honest, I never cared much for turkey, but it was de rigueur to have the proper holiday.
Through the years, I have hosted and been hosted for Thanksgiving nearly every year. I was always with family—that is mostly family I created out of various friends in the many places I have lived. Sometimes, the family we cobble together is as precious, if not more so, than blood relatives.
I Give Thanks
To close, I want to make a list of what I am thankful for this year.
1. Bruce, my husband of 32 years.
[and they said it would never last].
2. The friends who constitute my extended family. People in West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Missouri, and Canada. You know who you are!
3. Finding my “twin” cousin, a woman with whom I share so many common interests and traits. And she really is my blood cousin; her grandmother and my father were first cousins.
4. Laughter–it truly is the best medicine.
I could go on with this list, but there are blessings too great to count.
My Wish for You
I do hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving. If you can, leave a comment. What are you thankful for?