Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Remembering Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!

The year has rolled around much too fast, but this is one of my favorite holidays. My turkey will be roasting early in the morning, my pumpkin and pecan pies are ready, potato & pea-corn salads are waiting in the fridge, and the dressing is ready to finalize and cook. There are a few other small things to take care of but I will do those early in the morning before I go to the airport to pick up DD#3 and her 2 munchkins. By Friday, I will be happily surrounded by all my children and grandchildren. I couldn't be more thankful.

Thanksgiving Day has taken many twists and turns over the years in our home. The very first one after DH and I were married, was in a small one-bedroom apartment in Bakersfield, California. We had been married almost four months. DH's brother and wife visited from Santa Barbara and I prepared a Thanksgiving feast just as my mother had for many years. The main difference was that she cooked for nine or more hungry people and I was only cooking for four. My 20-pound turkey and large pan of dressing lasted forever! When I boiled the bones for soup, DH put his foot down and refused to eat it. "Turkey Carcass Soup" became one of those family jokes that rears its amusing head when we all gather.

Another memorable Thanksgiving was the first one we celebrated in Australia where Thanksgiving is not a National Holiday, even when you work for an American company. I planned and prepared the usual feast and invited another American couple to share. Since our DHs had to work until 5:00 p.m., we had supper at 7:00. It would not have seemed like Thanksgiving without turkey and all the trimmings and it would have seemed positively unamerican not to have celebrated at all. However, I learned that feasting is a daytime activity and we never again had such a large meal that late at night.

Each Thanksgiving has left its mark and presented opportunities to learn more of life's lessons. One year I insisted I did not want to cook for just the two of us so we went to Lawry's Restaurant in Los Angeles. It never seemd like Thanksgiving that year. One year, I made a bread and chestnut stuffing for the turkey instead of the usual cornbread dressing. Our tastebuds were not satisfied that year. The memorable tale of the "Pumkin Pie Caper" will come at a later date.

When we celebrated with an extended family gathering, we learned as well. The first year I fixed a huge spread for my sister, five brothers, spouses, children, and our parents, we wives fed the children and watched over them while the husbands ate dinner. After the children were put down for napping, we wives turned to fix our plates but there was almost nothing left for us to eat. The next year, we fed the children and let our husbands watch them while we ate. It was such a wonderful time! We enjoyed ourselves so much that the husbands had to request a turn at the table.

Thanksgiving has always been a time for thankfulness, family, feasting, and renewing our family ties. The men played touch football while the women did the dishes, then everyone relaxed in front of the televised football games. We knew they would be occupied until time for turkey sandwiches and pie later in the afternoon. As we all aged, football became a sedentary activity for the men and my sister and I had established a routine of Scrabble playing. Activities varied over the years as we have aged, but one thing has remained the same. It is still a time of giving thanks, feasting, family, and fun. May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with everything good.


  1. "Rears" its ugly head, that's for sure.


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