Friday, November 11, 2011

Thanksgiving Appreciated

We have some reasons to be especially thankful this November, in spite of the fact that we'll be spending Thanksgiving Day in Rochester, MN, where my husband Bud will be in the hospital, recovering from surgery planned for Nov. 21. He has cancer in his left kidney, and that organ will be removed. So how can we be thankful with something like that facing us? Well, we're thankful for the wonderful doctors, technicians, and facilities connected with the Mayo Clinic. We've both benefited from the vast expertise of that institution over the years. We'll also be thankful for the many prayers which will be said for us.

Here's an article about Thanksgivings of the past. I hope it brings back some happy memories for you.

Thanksgiving Appreciated
These days, as we gather for our Thanksgiving celebration, it’s just a few of us adults around the table. How different from when I was a child, and both my grandmas’ houses bustled with dozens of cousins as the extended family gathered to celebrate.
We always had two Thanksgiving dinners - one with each side of my parents’ families. One gathering was on Thanksgiving Day and one the following Friday. It couldn’t get much better than that!
Since my mom’s family was large, we had to eat in shifts. The men ate first, followed by the children. Then the women sat to the table for a leisurely meal and lots of talking and laughing. 
We children were sent to the basement to play. If we got too loud, we would be allowed to go to the movie - which was our goal anyway. We must have made quite a sight as we entered the movie theater over twenty strong, older cousins with little ones in hand.
It was different at my paternal grandma’s house. We could almost all fit around the table. Of course, the ladies held back to do the serving. I suspect they never did get any white meat from the turkey!
I don’t suppose I fully appreciated the wonderful food those days. Most of the side dishes - mounds of creamy mashed potatoes, buttered corn and other vegetables, salads, pickled beets and cucumbers - would have been made from produce grown by my aunts. My mom’s specialty was nut pudding, a pure white concoction of chopped walnuts and whipped, sweetened vanilla-flavored cream from our own cows. Mom decorated the top with walnut halves and maraschino cherries. After the meal, the aunts spent hours in the kitchen, washing dishes and cleaning up. They didn’t mind. They enjoyed the chance to visit.
I’m thankful for those days when most extended families lived close enough to get together for the holidays. I grew up knowing my cousins, aunts, and uncles well. How I wish my own children had that advantage. We try to keep them close to the rest of the family with reunions every other year. But that can’t compare to the richness of seeing all your relatives every holiday. Next year, as I join the small group of adults at a quiet Thanksgiving meal, I’m going to give special thanks for those I experienced as 
a child. They were really something for which to be thankful.