Every year I become ridiculously excited about Thanksgiving Day. I know it’s a national holiday and many folks look forward to holidays, but for me Thanksgiving is especially thrilling. Perhaps it is because it means a long weekend. But I think it’s more than that. Thanksgiving, to me, represents all that I hold dear. I am tremendously nostalgic. I relish the memories of my childhood. Not every one of them of course. I too was subjected to my share of dysfunction and tragedy, but fortunately I mainly remember the sweet moments of my early life. Moments with my Grandma Marilyn. She and I spent lots of time together when I was young. She frequently baby sat for me and I remember so many special times we shared together. She and I would lay in bed and read books. Books that only she had…I seriously never encountered these particular books anywhere else. So, to me, these books were special.
Some of my favorites were:
“Little Black Sambo“
and “The Monster at the End of this Book”
My grandma was so special. There were funny songs that we would sing like “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” (great tune) and sometimes we would sing it so fast that we would slip and sing John Jacob Jingleheimer Shit! And we would laugh and laugh till we almost cried.
She was the BEST! And so many of my childhood memories are tied to her. I remember the last Thanksgiving I spent with her. I picked her up and drove her the hour and a half to my parents house. On the way there I asked her all kinds of questions and learned so much about her that I never knew before. I learned about her life. I learned that she was more than just my adorable grandma. She was a woman. She had desires and fears and hurts and regrets. It was fascinating. During that last Thanksgiving dinner we had with her she made her regular comment about how some element of the meal was good, but not the same as Grandma Grace’s or whoever her recipe had been passed down from. My mother is an amazing cook and will often branch out to new recipes that veer ever so slightly from the “original” recipes from Grandma Marilyn. Grandma always had to say something. Never out of spite, more because it crossed her mind and why not? That particular Thanksgiving dinner I decided to tease her about it and we all had a good laugh about it! (that small gesture on my part probably saved my dear mother from dwelling on the comment too long and starting to feel bad she didn’t make whatever it was the “right” way for grandma)
For me Thanksgiving is so much more than a big meal and a long day of parade and football game watching. It is a time to spend with my family. The people who mean more to me than anyone. It’s a time to engage in our annual traditions which include eating Peaches and Cream Pancakes and watching America’s Thanksgiving Parade all piled up on the couch. It’s about trying not to make a mess during breakfast because mom set the beautiful table the night before. It’s about being lazy all day in our pajamas and soaking up the amazing aromas pouring from the kitchen all day. It’s about trying not to drink too much wine or eat too much of the cheese and cracker appetizer so we have room for the dinner! It’s about eating that GIGANTIC dinner of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatos, gravy, succotash, winter squash, cranberries, and rolls. It’s about looking at the pretty relish tray that mom puts together every year, but never eating it because who actually likes to eat olives, pickles, and radishes?? It’s about sharing with each other something we are thankful for and watching me always tear up! Thanksgiving to me is a sacred time that I treasure and anticipate all year long.
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