When I was younger and still having the Thanksgiving meal with my family, my memories are of sitting on an uncomfortable stool at a crowded table far from the interesting people, and dealing with rowdy cousins, cold food, and lots of mayhem. As a teenager I showed up for the meal and then headed back to my room to play 45’s and talk to my girlfriends. In my twenties I ignored the holiday because I was either working or writing a paper for school. Somewhere along the line I consciously planned different Thanksgivings for my own family, and for the most part I held fast to the formality of the meal, with all the silver and wedding service and crystal, and a 12-pound turkey. But by the time our son was a teenager, the cycle repeated itself and he too headed back to his room. He also missed some Thanksgivings staying at school because he had a job delivering pizza, or if he was really lucky, was off with his friends on some ski slope. I regret that we never had any traditions like tossing the football around in the back yard, but in truth I was usually the first one to pass out on the couch because I’d been up since 4 a.m. stuffing the turkey.
Now there’s just the two of us, with no family nearby, and at the tender age of 66 I am formulating a set of traditions I plan to keep until the day I am taking my Thanksgiving meal on a paper plate in a dining room filled with other women wearing housecoats.
My first tradition is that I’m not waiting for Thanksgiving Day to begin to give thanks. I have much to be thankful for, not the least of which is that I am an American, living in a warm home in a safe neighborhood, in the foothills of western North Carolina. I have food in my cupboard, enough to share with the food drive next week, and a new stove to cook it on. I have a man who loves me more than “anything” and more friends, both old and new, than the law should allow.
My other traditions are simple: I am never getting up at 4 a.m. again for any reason; I will never go shopping on Thanksgiving Day; I will listen, if not watch, the entirety of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; I will continue to call my oldest and dearest friends to say hi after dinner; and, as we have done the past couple of years, we will head to the movies the moment the dishes are done.
Last but not least, this year we will not miss the opportunity to share with others. Last year we went to Wal-Mart a week or so before Christmas with the intent to pay off “someone’s” Christmas lay-away account. With cash in hand we got all excited just thinking about what it would be like for someone to go up to the counter only to find someone had anonymously paid their bill in advance, but we were told that it was the day before when all lay-aways had to be paid and picked up. We left disappointed, but vowed to return next season.
Hopefully you will realize all your holiday traditions as well, and your Thanksgiving day will be joyous and in the company of family and friends. From my little family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! And if I have your phone number…..