Thanksgiving has always been an important holiday to me. This isn't because I am particularly moved by the story of the pilgrims' survival. Nor is it because I am really into turkey (let's be honest, it can run a little dry). For me, Thanksgiving tends to coincide with my mother's birthday, and it comes right on the heels of my brother's birthday as well.
As a result, Thanksgiving for me is synonymous with family, with pure unadulterated joy. It's also changed as the years went on -- people joined and left our table. As time passed our Thanksgivings changed, even as our food comas remained constant. It will always be my favorite holiday. It's already packed with some of my favorite memories, good, bad, and bittersweet. I want to share 3 of them with you.
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1. The One With The Talent Show
For the past twenty some odd years, my family has shared Thanksgiving with family friends and their son. Sometimes Thanksgiving is at our place, sometimes it is at theirs. There was even a brief period of time when we went OUT to eat (travesty, I know). On one otherwise unremarkable Thanksgiving, after the meal had included, there was impromptu talent show of sorts. The son of our friends played his guitar and sang, my sister did the same, my brother and father told stories, and my mom played the flute. We're far from being a Norman Rockwell painting, but for one really awesome moment at that otherwise unremarkable meal, we were something much, much better -- we were all our happy, contented selves.
3. The Last One With Both My Grandparents
I wish I remembered this one better. For the last handful of years of their lives, my father's parents lived with my family. It's hard to see someone grow old. It challenges how you perceive them. Towards the end, I saw my grandparents as they were -- moles, warts, and all. I wasn't always the most patient or even loving grandchild. At this meal, I am sure my grandfather was courtly and attentive to the guests and that my grandmother laughed and smiled throughout. I'm sure they ate much too slowly. I'm sure my grandfather said something that irritated everyone and that the night wasn't that different than any other night. The next Thanksgiving after that one, it was just my grandmother at the table, and the Thanksgiving after that, just the memory of her. I wish I had paid better attention. I wish I had been more patient.
3. The One Where I Cooked
This one didn't happen too long ago. Anyone who has cooked their first Thanksgiving feast knows what a true rite of passage it is. That goes double in my house where the only control freak bigger than me is my mother. To her credit, she both gave me a wide berth, and was there when I panicked throughout the day. The feeling of accomplishment that washed over me when I looked around and saw that everyone was just as happy as they usually were at the meal's close made me feel like I'd done something really right. I'd carried on the torch without letting it go out.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories?
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