Everybody has their own memories of Thanksgiving. Positive or negative, the holidays affect us. It's amazing how a couple of special days a year, invoke feelings, of remembered sights and sounds and smells.
My parents always invited someone over to sit around our table on Thanksgiving. There was always a stray, lonely man, adopted by us at holiday time..when we were living in Michigan, and Indiana too. Mr. Hoag, who by today's standards would have frightened most parents. He was a scruffy,tiny, somewhat dirty old man who lived across the road, in a shack. Really, I don't know what else to call it. I think that he collected stuff, as it was all over the place. He would come, in a worn out suit, and would sit at the end of the table, with a prized turkey leg on his plate. My folks were good like that.
Harold, lived a lonely life across the street from us in Indiana. He always walked with his hands behind his back, and his head down, slightly bent over. That's how he died, walking like that, in his eighties by then, and was hit by car and died. Anyway, he was a bachelor man, who stuttered and was painfully shy. He would come dressed in an old wool jacket, and a bow tie. He barely spoke a word to us as he ate his Thanksgiving meal. He was genteel in his own way, and tolerated my two brothers and I well. He was always grateful, and took home a foiled covered plate of food after spending several hours in our company.
It was so interesting, and almost magical getting the food ready for turkey day. It was food we only ate once or twice a year. The grocery list included exotic things like coconut, real butter, colorful cranberries, and a twenty-something pound bird that took up the entire refrig. The night before we tore up the bread for dressing into huge crockery bowls. A gruesome smelling pot of giblets boiled on the stove, as we chopped celery and onions and browned them in a pan of melted butter. This was an annual ritual in itself. Holidays were big doings in the 50's and 60's, in our eyes. The good china and real silver came out, along with the good white tablecloths that needed to be ironed. The leaves were put in the table, and every spare chair, stool, and piano bench brought out. I miss those days, I really do. I've never been able to recreate those special times. I do wonder about the memories that are housed in my kid's heads about their childhood Thanksgivings. Jim and David always made a turkey, for the two of them. Today, David makes a big bird in his great grandparents roaster, and stirs the gravy, just as his dad taught him. Our kids live in different states, and celebrate in their own way, with others, making their own traditions; most years anyway.
My siblings have their own children to feast with, and live miles away. Jim and I will be home with the corgi kids, and have a quiet day. We'll call our mamas, and aunts, and kids, and maybe use the video cam for the first time. We'll be thinking back though, to memories of Thanksgivings past, and seeing faces of people long gone in our minds eye. Once again, experiencing those warm, secure, thankful feelings all over again. Thank you God for those memories, and for the family who gave them to us.