November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Memories

It's been very pleasant seeing the push back against the commercialization of Thanksgiving. While more and more stores are opening, more and more people are also objecting. I do not participate in the Black Friday sales because I truly cannot imagine anything I need that badly that I would fight the crowds or camp out. I think if most folks were honest with themselves, there is nothing they need that badly either, but it's become so deeply engrained in our culture that it's almost impossible to think of Thanksgiving without the slew of ads and enticements to get us to spend money.

The irony isn't lost on me. Spending a day in gratitude for everything we have then rushing out in the wee hours to acquire "more". At some point I would like to think "enough" instead of "more".

In the spirit of remembering what Thanksgiving is about, I would like to share a favorite Thanksgiving memory.

The year was 1970.  I was in preschool and I made construction paper buckles for my shoes and hat for my head. After school, I went out to my Grandma & Grandpa's farm proudly sporting my Pilgrim costume. I spent the night at their house, in my aunt's old bedroom. I remember how cool her room was because she had a trundle bed and round bolster pillows. I would sit in that room and look at the Encyclopedia Britannica until I heard Grandma rustling together a breakfast. I went downstairs to see Grandpa was in his hunting jacket. My dad and uncle came over and the men went out to the woods to hunt rabbits. When other families had turkey the day after Thanksgiving, I remember having rabbit stew. Our family was large enough that there was rarely much turkey left over.

After breakfast, which always included Grandma's homemade bread, real butter, and homemade jam, I watched the Macy's Parade while Grandma started the turkey. I would help as much as a little kid could. Grandma had me set the table and she trusted me to handle her china, which as an adult, who is rather clumsy, I really cannot believe her level of trust. I felt so important. I also got to set the card table for my brothers and myself, where the little kids sat.

I remember the family starting to arrive and my cool older cousins would usually play a board game with me because my brothers were too little to play with me. Grandma set out her famous pimento cheese ball rolled in chopped pecans. It was such a traditional food that one year Grandma did not make the cheese ball and we spent most of the dinner talking about how much we missed the cheese ball.

After dinner, Grandpa would build a fire in the fireplace and we would watch football, either Dallas or Detroit.

I don't remember anyone talking about how early they were going to get up and shop or the great bargains to be had the next day. But we all sat and cheered or booed the teams and the adults talked to each other. After our dinners had settled, we had pumpkin pie for dessert and there were cookies for the kids.

We would then hurry home to watch the Wizard of Oz.

I am thankful for that memory. I can still smell Grandma's cooking and if I close my eyes, I can see her in her apron and Grandpa in his hunting gear. I see the fields that we traipsed through and the barns where we explored. I can hear Grandpa's cows mooing and I see the apple tree in the side yard where Grandma always warned us not to eat the green apples. I am filled with gratitude and joy. That is more valuable than any super deal on a flat screen TV or in demand toy.

Do you plan to shop on Black Friday? Why or why not?
What is a favorite Thanksgiving memory you have?


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