Thanksgiving Memories

A large family gathered around a table sharing a meal and clinking glasses for a toeast.

Thanksgiving was my favorite day of the year when I was growing up. My grandma (mom’s mom) had Thanksgiving at her home every year. I can’t say Thanksgiving dinner because it wasn’t just dinner – it was an all-day event.

Journey back with me to a time when there were no cell phones, no social media, or texting; families gathered and talked to one another or played games while the turkey roasted and the house filled with the sounds and smells of the holiday. I especially like to think back on that era this year when Thanksgiving feels so very different. It gives me a short break from all the pandemic news to just daydream of many other times in years past.

Most years, we would start the day with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I remember listening to the announcers describe all the balloons and floats. I loved the music and dance performances, especially the high-kicking Rockettes! Even though I couldn’t see much of what was happening on the television, listening to it made me so happy and excited! There has always been a feeling of magic and wonder around the Macy’s parade.

After the parade, everyone cleaned up, and we ventured to Grandma’s house. Grandma had five children, each of whom had at least three of their children. So yes, it was a packed house, but we always had enough room and food for everyone! The kids would play outside or in the living room while the grown-ups gathered around the kitchen table and talked or helped Grandma cook the feast.

We always had a huge spread on the table. You could smell the turkey and dressing roasting for hours that day. Oh, and the chocolate pie – that was my grandma’s specialty. The scent of that chocolate pie wafted through the air like the background music of the best holiday movie you’ve ever seen.

Thanksgiving meal in serving dishes on a table.

As I’ve gotten older, I see even less than I did then. Now that I have Thanksgiving dinners at my own house, I think back to all those memories and the things I remember from those days. I try to create the smells, sounds, and tastes of Thanksgiving in my own home for my children to enjoy. Focusing on what I do have in my life and all the things I can do for my family, helps me think less about the vision I don’t have.

This Thanksgiving will be a little different for all of us, but I am thankful for the many ways I have to enjoy the holiday season with the people I love. I’ll savor the taste of the savory mashed potatoes and gravy. With gratitude, I’ll inhale the mouthwatering aroma of the pumpkin pie we will share after the meal. I’ll tune in just a little longer and let my ears linger on the sounds of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, football later in the day, and my kids laughing and playing with the dogs. These are the things I’m most thankful for this year.