We celebrated our Thanksgiving a week early this year. My grandson just got back from a trip to the middle east on the USS Abraham Lincoln and he is home on leave. Thanksgiving has always been a big holiday in my family. When I was a boy, we all gathered at Grandma Kellar’s and we enjoyed a big feas. The biggest treat however, was that we got to play with our cousins and were well entertained by the aunties .
Later on, when I was in college, I brought a friend from the Philippines home with me for Thanksgiving and he enjoyed his first American tradional feast. The following year, I was in the Navy and Eppie called my mother to ask if he could come back for Thanksgiving even though I wasn’t there. Reportedly, a good time was had by all.
I was stationed in Portsmouth, VA when I was in the Navy and our neighbor, Lila Green, invited my wife and I for dinner and that was a very nice departure from navy beans and fried green tomatoes. We had a great feast but I was surprised to learn that there are different traditions for making dressing. Theirs was made with corn meal and it was more like a gravy. When we were in San Diego we went to my wife’s Aunt Peggy’s in Lemon Grove for Thanksgiving and their dressing was also different but I don’t remember what it was. but it came as a bit of a shock to me that the rest of the world didn’t make dressing just like my mother did. She made hers with dried bread with sage etc. and that is the same kind of dressing that my wife grew up with.
We had Thanksgiving with my wife’s folks after I got out of the service. They generally had their extended family in for dinner and that made quite a crowd. Dinner wasn’t usually ready until along about three and we were appropriately starved by the time that it was served. Men and children weren’t allowed within 20 feet of the kitchen and we holed up in the living room to watch TV. The cooks were generally pretty frazzled by the time dinner was ready and the men parked in front of the T.V. were not in their good graces. Looking back we probably should have gone out and cut a few cords of wood while they were fixing dinner.
My folks lived nearby and they also had a big dinner and that meant that I had to do double duty and eat with them also. Actually, I mostly just ate pie and shied away from the higher calorie items like the salads.
As my family got bigger and grandchildren came into the picture we established our own Thanksgiving tradition but we still visited the old folks for pie. At this point, we are the old folks and we continue on with the feasts. It has been years since we have had everybody home at the same time and I am always aware of the empty chairs. But of course, we love them just the same and we are always enjoy the ones that end up with their feet under the table.