Thanksgiving won’t be the same this year

Thanksgiving this year won’t be the same as usual. I wrote this column 10 years or so ago and I thought you might like a trip back in time with me.

Thanksgiving shopping is low stress and involves usually just a trip to the local supermarket.

I usually handle the shopping and the cooking of the major components of the feast. Guests add interesting side dishes and the Queen does the desserts since she enjoys baking and her skill level far exceeds mine in that area.

It’s all about hustle, bustle, wonderful smells and laughter. The old stories are dragged out, dusted off and allowed to shine again, working their way into the family’s oral history. Table, family, friends, a real Norman Rockwell moment. These are some of my thankful things.

I’ve reached the stage where Thanksgivings Past now far outnumber Thanksgivings Yet To Be and during the day I am visited by friendly flashbacks. Relatives and friends, many of which are no more, dance through my memory arriving in Studebakers, Packards and other now antique vehicles, many of which are no more, spilling aunts, uncles and cousins out into the chill air.

We then went about our assigned duties in our assigned places. The kids stayed outside to play and to keep from being underfoot. The dads headed for the living room for a round of adult beverages and man talk. The women gathered in the kitchen, carrying their signature dishes to add to the bounty of the growing feast. The kitchen and dining room were filled with mom and the aunts, stirring, carrying, tasting to the music of constant chatter.

The preparations finished, the time for feasting had arrived. The kids were called in from the cold, coats were piled high on my parents’ bed.

Mothers ran a quick inspection — hands checked, a stray cowlick plastered down and places were assigned at the children’s table. Plates of turkey and ham were in place on the tables, all was ready.

The men were summoned from the livingroom. They took their appointed places while the women hustled last-minute plates to the grownups’ table, which usually included an uncomfortable teen or two who was deemed too old for the children’s table. This move was the rite of passage to the world of adults and was usually accompanied by sideway wistful glances at the children’s table and the fun they were having and at the same time the pride of having made the transition almost made up for uncomfortable conversation you tried to have with your new peers.

The signal for the feasting to begin came when Dad said grace. Unaccustomed as he was to public speaking but with great pride in his gathered family and his ability to provide the feast, he blessed us all and thanked the gathering. Then began the march of the loaded platters and bowls and the search for a small place on your plate to put a serving of one more item.

The feast ended in a haze of pumpkin pie, apple pie and mince pie smells and tastes. With statements of universal acclaim for the bounty consumed, each group then went about their appointed rounds and to their appointed places again. The kids bundled up and headed outside with a younger uncle or two for the annual football game in the cornfield across the dirt road.

The men, loosening belts another notch or two retired to the livingroom again while the women had a reverse flurry of the morning’s activities, cleared the table and did the dishes while catching up on the rest of the families’ news.

Dishes done, the adults gathered around the now empty table for a few games of cards.

The sun started down, the kids were called in, the adults’ coats brought out, the leftovers evenly distributed, the cars loaded and suddenly it was over.

It wasn’t really over. It’s still there, the memories are still clear and fresh. This year I’ll add new ones.

May your Thanksgiving be wonderful and all you could wish. If it isn’t, may your memories taste as sweet as mine.

Thought for the week — One of the things I’m most thankful for is that I wasn’t born a turkey.

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at Whittle12124@yahoo.com.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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