Thanksgiving Dinner Memories
Throughout our childhood, each Thanksgiving that I can remember, my entire family piled into the station wagon, driving to Fords, NJ to spend it with my mother’s sister’s family: Aunt Marilyn—we called her Nanny and sometimes still do—my most favorite cousin Beth(ie) Kalet, “little brother” Mark, and Uncle Gene; and our grandparents, who we all loved dearly, especially our grandfather who smoked a cigar and doted on all of his grandchildren--constantly. Aunt Marilyn was a fabulous cook, and it was always scrumptious and fun.
Then, there was our first Thanksgiving after my mother died—this time at our house. I insisted upon making it. My twin brother Ken, and I were 14. Everyone came. I cooked. I was overwhelmed. What was I thinking? I made Nanny’s stuffing. It was the only thing I remember of that day, other than everyone holding back tears.
For the Thanksgiving Barry and I made in our apartment on 84th Street when we first moved to NYC from Wash., D.C. we extended our invitation to all the usual suspects and others that we were close to and that didn’t have a plan for that day, and we invited our family to do the same. We had about 20 people in our living room—and we borrowed tables and chairs and dishes so we all sat at the same table. It was tight quarters, but it was magical, especially because we later found out that our beautiful daughter Arin was on her way into this world! That was a great one.
Our first Thanksgiving in our “new” house—yes the one we’ve now lived in for 16 years-- was also great! I borrowed folding tables from BNB, and we set up from one end of our living room to the other. We used our dining room for serving. I recall that it was delicious and full of the feeling of gratefulness. I think this might have been the best Thanksgiving on record. We had 21 people—friends and family. Many brought their specialties. I think the warmth of the fire, and all of the people punctuated the true spirit of the holiday. Barry sat at the head of the long table, with our new puppy, Jack, tethered to his ankle by his leash. We got him just a few days prior. I think I have to give another, What was I thinking?—Barry was not pleased. More about Jack another time. He also enjoyed the day!
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Goodness and giving; no gifts other than being with one another. I know there are the “dynamics” inherent in family occasions, and often the stress level and associated antics lean towards the comical; that times like this can put the “fun” in dysfunction; but it’s also a time when we are somewhat “forced” to be together, and I think that’s a good thing. This year our niece is making the holiday for all of us, and her husband’s family, and her friend’s family. Her brother and sister-in-law are expecting a baby! I am making my famous cranberry sauce and bringing Briermere pies. It’s our granddaughter’s first Thanksgiving! Yes, it’s time to make some new memories.
I hope your day is truly blessed, and if I can offer one piece of advice—based on years and years of experience, I would say that it’s really no matter if things don’t turn out exactly as you planned—they never do. Just roll with it, and be open to the love but closed to the "snipes," and of course, at the ready for a deep and hearty laugh.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!