Today is Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Two days before Thanksgiving. Today, I would like to reflect on the holiday of Thanksgiving.
As a young girl, my family of four girls, a father and mother, would celebrate Thanksgiving with our maternal grandparents. My father would either work, or celebrate with his mother until her death. Every Thanksgiving we were a family; unfortunately, extremely dysfunctional but together. My maternal grandmother did the cooking. I helped. Never could I make homemade biscuits like my grandmother, although I tried. I’ve decided the only dessert I can make from scratch are cookies and cake. Forget the biscuits, or the dinner rolls I attempted a few weeks ago. I used a ‘foolproof’ recipe. Foolproof, alright…definitely did not work for me. I baked those rolls in anticipation of having homemade dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. Tasting one after they baked, I decided the only way to enjoy these rolls was to toss them into the trash! Mission accomplished! My foolproof recipe certainly fooled me! If I serve rolls (and I doubt I do) they will be store-bought, not made from my hands!
After marriage, I made the Thanksgiving dinner at our home. By now, my mother and I were estranged. Twice, I attempted to have Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house, or apartment, wherever she lived at that time. My mother moved lots. Never was there a place for me to call home with her. Both times, we had dinner together, we had words. Not kind words. Just words. She always wanted to tell me what to do. How to treat my husband…how to care for my child…how to live my life. She wanted me to walk in her shoes. I refused. After our last Thanksgiving together, I decided I would have Thanksgiving dinner at our home in Mt. Pleasant, SC. New traditions were made. My dad was invited to every Thanksgiving. For many years, he sat at the dinner table. His chair to the left of where I sat.
Although I didn’t think my dad noticed, every year our dinner table was sat for a formal occasion. Lace tablecloths on the table. Dinner napkins folded in a design. My finest china was used. The table was always dressed – formally. Forks to the left of the plate. Knives to the right.
Dad always said grace. We held hands while he prayed. On one occasion, he made the compliment to me: “Barbara. You really know how to cook and how to set a dining room table. I always look forward to dinners at your home.”
I was flabbergasted. Rarely did I get compliments from my parents.
On Thanksgiving, 2016, the table will be set for a formal occasion. My dad will not sit in his chair. Still reserved for him, I lost my dad on July 6, 1999. Our last Thanksgiving together, he struggled to swallow his food. How I miss him.
This year, my menu includes:
Roasted turkey breast
sautéed green beans
Macaroni and cheese
Homemade Chocolate Pound Cake
Homemade Carrot Cake
Definitely not a Weight Watchers menu, but I will choose wisely. After all, this is Thanksgiving. A time to give thanks for life. Health. Happiness. Friendship. And many, many more moments of Thanksgiving.
No, I will not have my son, his wife or grandson at our dining room table. They have an open invitation to come, but somehow, it doesn’t happen. I really do not know IF my son celebrates Thanksgiving. I certainly hope he and his family do, but they are ‘busy with their lives…’ Oh, how they are missed!
To all of you reading this I wish you a joyous Happy Thanksgiving. If you are having dinner with your friends and family, remember to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. If they are doing or saying something you might not approve of, just breathe while giving Thanks you are together for this special occasion and holiday. Every year, I breathe while wishing my family could celebrate holidays together.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. If you have a loved one overseas in a combat, or military setting, pray for their safety. Happy Thanksgiving to all of us.