Thanksgiving is a purely American Holiday. On Thanksgiving we give thanks for this great nation and the sacrifices and triumphs that have made this nation the most amazing and wonderful in the world. And in so doing we are left to look back on our own lives and to give thanks to what is truly important, what is and should be treasured and what to pass on to the next generation. In keeping with this tradition, the LetsBlogOff team asks us to share a favorite Thanksgiving memory. Like most of us, I hope, my Thanksgiving memories center around two things: Food and Family.
The one memory that always first comes to mind is back many moons ago when I was 8 or 9 and we had the big Thanksgiving dinner at my Chochi Mary’s house (it’s Polish for Aunt – though she was actually my grandmother’s aunt). Our typical family Thanksgiving feast would include all the usual suspects: a big turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, green beans (from the garden), mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, cabbage (otherwise known as sour crout), and two or three kinds of pie. Did I mention we’re a big family? 😛
This one year in particular we were all crowded around the table and I, not being a big fan of turkey back then, was waiting ever so impatiently for my helping of ham and mustard. This was an especially special Thanksgiving because my grandfather decided to share some of his Grey Poupon with me…and only me. 🙂
And so, my mother gives me my little stack of ham slices with a helping of mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans and cranberry sauce then settles in to eat her own meal as all of the adults are chatting away or whatever. Me…I set in to eating.
It wasn’t very long before I had finished my plate (vegetables and all) and was looking for a second helping of ham. My mother acquiesced and I grabbed a few more slices and another dollop of Grey Poupon.
And a few short minutes later my plate is clean again, and I’m reaching for another stack of ham slices. My mother turns to me, seeing just how much food I’ve put away and surreptitiously denies my request. My grandmother and Chochi both were, as you can imagine, appalled that my mother would deny me food (obviously not knowing that I’ve had two full helpings already), but of course the very forceful matrons of my family won out and I got my third helping of ham…with the understanding that this was my very last helping of food probably for the day.
And, yeah, I piled that shit on my plate and scarfed it down like a champ! Now, after nearly eating my own weight in sliced ham, the rest of the day is pretty much a blur, but what I remember most was just the overwhelming feeling of love and family that was always around that table. There is something so amazingly comforting about a gathering of multiple generations talking, eating, sharing stories. If you could be thankful for nothing else, be thankful for those in your life bound by blood and honor. Remember them, give thanks for them and don’t forget to pass the turkey! 🙂
We grew up very poor, but somehow my parents always managed to put together a big Thanksgiving dinner. In the beginning what I most liked about the day was all that food! Later, the best was just getting together as a family, preferably as a large family, but family, that’s the main thing. And food!
Joe, yes! Agreed. Our family was never terribly well-off either, but man, when the fam got together it was nuts. And so much FOOD! I grew up in the kitchen surrounded by some serious cooking! Thank God I’m a runner. That’s all I got to say. 😉
Totally agree Jeremiah- its all about the family and food and not just at Thanksgiving.
Thanks, Todd! Much appreciated! 🙂
I too come from an enormous family, large doesn’t begin to describe it. Though Thanksgiving has us celebrating our traditions on our own, I was fortunate to be in Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago and had an incredible dinner with my brothers and their families. We amassed at my brother Matt’s. There were 30 of us there and the ages ranged from 8 to 60. Bliss. Loud, passionate bliss. As much as I love my adult siblings and my many, many nieces and nephews, being there was made all the more enjoyable by knowing that the little kids present were forming lifetime memories of an extended family who love them and each other without conditions or questions.
That is a large family, indeed, Paul! Holy cow! My side of the family isn’t quite that large. I think there would be about 15 or so on my mother’s side, another dozen-ish on my dads’. Then of course you throw in my wife’s family and suddenly we’re talking about renting a dining hall to fit everyone. Though that’s mostly because they were childrens’ minister’s for about 20 years and all those chillen’s come running for the food. You know how it is. 😛
You bet I know how it is. Between my parents, siblings, their spouses, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, we now number 45. Family dinners with that many people are a logistical nightmare so we reserve the whole-family gatherings for weddings. We do get together as smaller groups throughout the year but damn, I have a lot of relatives!
Lovely memories. Happy Thanksgiving.
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