I looked at my calendar the other day, and it was difficult to believe it was already time to write a Thanksgiving column. As we tend to say at this time of the year, “Where did the time go?” Why it seems as if I was just writing a Thanksgiving column! Could 12 months have passed so quickly?
Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and while I spend a good share of my life wishing I could turn back the clock (for a variety of reasons), I will do what I always do — I’ll buy that turkey, make a grocery list, spend an inordinate amount of time cooking, graciously welcome our guests, serve dinner, laugh and chat throughout the day, do a crazy amount of dishes ... and collapse into the recliner, reminding myself it will be 12 months before I need to do it all again. Ta-da! Thanksgiving in a nutshell.
While it seems like an enormous amount of work goes into a meal that is consumed in less than 30 minutes, it’s not a big deal, and any complaining I do about it — well, I try to keep it to a minimum. After all, I’m very lucky; I’m very happy; and I’m very thankful. Putting a Thanksgiving meal on the table is relatively simple compared to many things I’ve gone through in my life.
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for me, if I didn’t allow myself to take a stroll down Memory Lane. As I stir up the stuffing, I’ll no doubt be reminded of my grandmother’s Thanksgiving feasts, where she and my mom would be up to their elbows in preparing a meal that wafted through the old farmhouse like the welcome aroma of lilacs in the spring. Both of those smells made life seem just about perfect back then, and to this day, I still find the smell of a roasting turkey at Thanksgiving and spring lilacs coming through the old screen door two of the most fulfilling scents this side of heaven.
We usually awoke to another scent besides that turkey on Thanksgiving morning ... The sweet smell of leftover pie crust scraps had been sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and were baking in the oven. We’d scramble to the kitchen, hoping to beat everyone else there for a sample of that flaky pie crust, baked with love from Grandma’s own recipe.
Eventually we’d get under foot, and somebody would shoo us out of the kitchen and direct us to the Macy’s Day Parade on the TV. I’ve never been one for parades — especially televised ones, so I’d spend my morning back and forth between the kitchen and looking out the big picture window in the living room, hoping to get the first glimpse of faraway family members who were coming to dinner. We didn’t have company very often, so having visitors for dinner was clearly a big deal.
As I think back, much of the day is a blur, however, I remember wishing it would never end. As an adult, I now look back and realize how important the love of family was back then. I remember laughter and hugs the most, and when the day was finished, I remember thinking I was probably one of the luckiest kids alive.
And now it’s Thanksgiving 2012, and while my life and family have changed drastically since those long ago holidays, I hold those memories so close to my heart. In fact, the only thing I’d change today would be to have those family members back — all gathered around my Thanksgiving table, smiling, laughing, all talking at once ... What I wouldn’t give, my friends.
As you plan your own Thanksgiving feast this year, I hope you’ll take some time to let those you love know just how thankful you are to have them in your life. While the turkey and the Macy’s Day Parade and football games are great, it’s the people you share them with who mean the most.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. May your day be filled with memory-making love.
BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.