I’m missing my Mom this morning as I think about Thanksgiving preparations and what needs to be done. Where’s her gravy boat, I ask myself and then frantically search the kitchen cabinets to find it. There it is – the delicate hand-painted china boat with saucer attached – so familiar. Then I find her small crystal bowl in which I serve cole slaw just like she did. Having these two pieces, which belonged to her and graced every Thanksgiving table since I was a kid is important for me. It’s a tradition. Having these same pieces along with her china makes me feel that in some small way my Mom and Dad are still here with me, even though they passed 16 years ago.
I miss my Aunt Vi, too, my godmother. She came to every one of our Thanksgiving celebrations. We would have a rum egg nog together sprinkled with a little nutmeg as we toasted the day. She always held a napkin around the glass to catch the moisture. Then she insisted on making the gravy, which came out so thick a spoon could stand up in the concoction. Someone once wisecracked that Vi’s gravy eats like a meal
I can still picture my Grandpop at the table with that smile that told you he was up to something. There’s gruff Uncle Henry at the other end taking it all in and telling silly jokes. I see Dad quietly enjoying his meal – shoveling it in and savoring each morsel. Over there my brother and I are kids again, trying not to fight – trying not to open our full mouths to gross each other out when our parents aren’t looking. I see my kids at that same table at each stage of life…first as little babies in high chairs, then picky toddlers, bored teenagers and finally mature, wonderful adults. I don’t know where the time goes. I see their wonderful guys…Matt and Blake. Some years there were my cousin Pat and Ken and their kids Lindsay and Philip, and other years our friends Jane, Jamie and Jill joining us and adding to our precious memories.
I carry on the tradition of the holidays preparing the food the same way my Mom did with her recipes and mine blended together. This year I will teach my daughter Kate how to make the meal, which I’m very excited about. I’ll be wishing Megan and Matt, who live in Florida, could be here with us. I’ll buy some egg nog and drink a toast to Aunt Vi and all the others, although I’ll make my gravy a little thinner. We’ll make turkey apples with an olive head and feathers of marshmellows, raisins and Cheerios. And after it’s done, we’ll cozy up together and watch “Christmas Vacation” to kick off the season.I thank God for the blessings of our family and friends – near and far – present and some now who have passed, and thank Him for the memories and traditions of a holiday that keeps love alive and everyone close in our hearts.
Wishing you and yours a very blessed, Happy Thanksgiving.