Thursday, November 25, 2010


Although we gathered frequently there was something extra special about Thanksgiving. Besides the turkey and all those marvelous trimmings with homemade pies and my grandmother's famous-much anticipated Christmas bread-there was something else going on. Looking back it was an appreciation of and respect for this day set aside for gathering together and giving thanks. Whether in red vests or a suit and tie, my father and uncles dressed for the occasion. That one particular uncle who lived 45 minutes away was always dressed in his suit and tie. To this day I've never met a man so respectful of or in love with his wife-a spitfire of a woman who was small in stature but full of spirit.

Of course the women dressed extra special too. My one aunt in particular always wore red lipstick and her hair was long and flipped up. I thought she was so beautiful. Many of the women wore aprons over their attire as they bustled about the kitchen. There were two tables set; one for the adults; one for the children. It was a right of passage when graduating from the smaller to the larger table-leaving behind wiggling kids with thoughts of that next holdiay fast approaching or itching to get back down to the creek and continue skating if the weather had been cooperative.

Seasonal music and aromas I can still tap back into filled the air. A lover of Dean Martin, my mother would play his "Marshmallow World" over and over. We'd join in as Dean took us though that classic song as only he could. Hushed conversations of Christmas surprises were held between adults as potaotes were whipped and vegetables were placed in serving bowls.Hard as we tried we never caught a word of what they were saying.
Dinner was a flurry of dishes passed and plates filled. One particular uncle was always in charge of which way the food was passed so there'd be no traffic jam holding up the flow.

Even after the turkey and pies had been enjoyed there was one more tradition we shared. A few of us older kids would cut strips of paper into smaller pieces. On each piece we would write the name of a family member. All of the names were put into a ceramic Santa Claus with a handle and after dinner we would go around the table. Everyone would take one name from the pile. That person was responsible to buy the person whose name was on the slip of paper a small gift which would be handed out on Christmas after dinner. We called them "Table Tree Gifts". It was fun to guess who had chosen whom. We'd mumble if we'd chosen someone we "didn't like" which really meant we felt they weren't that exciting to buy for. We'd spend hours trying to figue out who'd chosen our names for some bought better things than others-we thought. One particular uncle would never tell.

Of couse Thanksgiving meant "Miracle on 34th Street" would be on the tv along with great family Christmas specials such as Perry Como, Red Skelton, Dean Martin, Lawrence Welk,Carol Burnett-to name a few.

To say we were lucky living out there in the country on that certain stretch of road will never to it justice. So I will just say "Happy Thanksgiving" to all-and especially to those of us who were but little ones sitting at that smaller table. We were cetainly blessed weren't we!

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