It is the time of fast-approaching Holidays – many and varied. We once again begin the ending of another year and celebrate the many joys and blessings in our lives.
This time of Thanksgiving we are filled with our very personal feelings of “exactly how it is going to be.” Because it has always been that way! Change one thing on the Thanksgiving menu and there will be a family calamity. Ask any cook who has tried!
It would be impossible to imagine anything different from the way we remember. It is this routine of things known and comfortable that make up our personal experiences, giving texture and bringing into focus the jigsaw puzzle of our lives.
These traditions and established patterns of our own histories build the story and picture of who we are. Our personal experiences drive the memories of our lives.
Thanksgiving is one of those really special days filled with all our very own “comfort foods.” Our living memories of this day are etched in our mind’s eye forever as they fill our memory banks for a lifetime.
For some, it is the way the cranberries wiggle out of the can glistening and ready to be cut into slices and put on the table. The way we remember the bright redness of the cranberries ready to slide off the plate and into our mouths watering with delight! As a kid we would never think of having cranberries any other way. And, so a tradition of our own is begun. Do cranberries grow on trees or bushes?
Then for some it is the deliciousness of the sweet and tart homemade cranberries, whole, bubbling on the stove the day before the holiday gathering. It is the richness of their color, flavors, and familiar aroma filling the house saying — “It’s almost Turkey Day!” What? Did you just say cranberries come out of a can? Don’t be silly…….
This is tradition. It is what makes Thanksgiving special. It is the setting of the table, gathering the familiar family favorites, being together as one, laughing, sharing, and making everything “just so.”
The star of this big day is the BIGGEST of them all – the turkey! Imagine that golden brown beauty, baking, and being basted lovingly all day long by the cooks in the family. Or the gang gathered outside in the cold, as they deep- fry the turkey. Basking in the flavorful aromas, everyone filled with their own excitement as they watch the grand bird as it sizzles, and some, perhaps silently, hoping grandma’s garage doesn’t catch on fire!
Soon all of those dear to us will be sitting around the table. Purely enjoying the day’s feast and the celebration of being together. Life’s beautiful bounty of simple love and sharing.
There is a rhythm and natural order to this day. It is as predictable as the turkey having two scrumptious legs and many of those sitting around the table that “claim dibs!”
As sure as the lumps in the mashed potatoes, there are parts of this day that forms the layers of tradition for us. Usually it is Grandpa or “Uncle Somebody” who says, “Well, everybody sure outdid themselves this year, it was deeeelicious…… I couldn’t eat one more crumb,” expressed with a enormous sigh, an amazingly satisfying groan and even perhaps a belly tapping!
And, then the next step in this time honored ritual begins, the pies start coming from the kitchen. A cavalcade of sugary, buttery, spice-laden treats to make any stomach surrender.
And, almost in perfect harmony and unison everyone says, “Well, maybe just a sliver…….Oh, heck! maybe just a little of each.”
Some reading this might be thinking ….Okay, but, Lesli, isn’t it just people sitting around a table eating (perhaps, especially on this day, gargantuan portions!) like any other time we eat to satisfy our need for food?
Perhaps on first look. When we look deeper, these are the indelible moments to our own tapestries that make up the richness of our memories. They are the building blocks of our lifelong foundations. These personal experiences shape the memories of our lives.
These delightful gifts of food, family, loved ones, and friends engulf us in comfort. The quiet and satisfying company of the ones we love, sharing a special day, thereby — sharing our lives.
This is the true bounty of life’s blessings. It is simple. It is pure. It is familiar.
May you all be blessed with the loving warmth of this day of giving thanks. Enjoy this day with those special to your heart.
This day is a gift you give yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!