Thanksgiving Memories

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tablewareThe very first Thanksgiving I can recall was when I was about seven years old. It may have been the first November after we moved into our home. It certainly was before my parents remodeled the house. That remodel resulted in the loss of the formal dining room. In fact, part of what stays etched in my mind about that particular Thanksgiving is the large room and dining table. Mom made a big deal about the holiday. She invited grandma and aunts and uncles, and cousins. She got up early to start the meal. I either watched or helped mix bread crumbs with egg and butter, onion, celery, spices and broth.  Even though I was only seven, I was the only daughter and often tagged along with my mom as she went about her daily routines. I am not sure that at age seven I was helping chop onions or celery, but I know I did help with that part of the meal almost every year from whatever age I was able. Mom and I would sit at the kitchen table, each wearing an apron, each with a cutting board, knife, and a vegetable to prepare.  I wasn’t allowed to help with fancy cutting because Mom never thought I was artistic enough. It’s true. Mom was right. I am not very artistic when it comes to food presentation. Anyway, on the first Thanksgiving I remember, I picture myself buzzing in and out of the kitchen to watch as my mom whipped up our meal. At least ten pounds of potatoes would have been peeled and placed in the boiling pot on the stove.  Sweet potatoes were candied and readied to be placed under the broiler once the turkey was done. The roasting turkey wafted throughout the house all day long. It remains one of my favorite aromas.  A turkey in the oven makes me think of family; it warms my heart and my tummy.  And perhaps just because of the idea of sharing a family meal tugs at my heart, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. As I close my eyes and think of that first memory of Thanksgiving, I can see the dining room where the table covers, napkins, and place settings all were perfectly arranged.  My parents, grandma, a great aunt, two uncles and two aunts sat at the big table. We children (myself, four brothers, and  five or six cousins) were seated at the proverbial “kids’ table” in the kitchen. The kitchen table wasn’t decorated as fancy as the dining room, but there was a Thanksgiving table cloth and fancy napkins for us too. Our party decorations were simple and tasteful. The day made special by the people and the food.  

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