Thursday, November 27, 2008
Thanksgiving is here again. Doesn’t it seem like it arrives faster and faster? Why it seems like only yesterday it was witches and hobgoblins cavorting around celebrating the Halloween madness. This year as in years past I think back on previous Thanksgiving celebrations. For many, many years Thanksgiving at home was Mom cooking up the big turkey dinner for our family; Pop, me and my two younger brothers. Then, as my brothers and I moved away from home, we would visit Mom and she would still whip up the big diner for our ravenous appetites. Turkey, mashed potatoes, corn (from Pop’s garden, lovingly frozen during the summer and brought out at this special occasion), cranberry sauce, string beans, and the special treat – Mom’s homemade biscuits with homemade gravy. At the end of the meal my brothers would good naturedly fight to see who could sop out the left over gravy in the gravy bowl with their biscuits.
As the years passed, my brothers and I too to celebrating Thanksgiving at our respective homes with our new families. Occasionally one of two of us would visit Mom for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. However, as Mom got older she found it difficult to handle the stress of cooking a big dinner. After my father died, my divorced brother moved in with Mom to take care of her. Thanksgiving dinner would just be the two of them. I would go over after their dinner and she would have a dish made up of the Thanksgiving goodies for me and Bill to take back to my home.
In 2003 I accepted an invitation from a longtime friend to join him and his family for their Thanksgiving dinner. In the past I had always turned down this invitation because I assumed Thanksgiving dinners were for family only. I wasn’t a member of his biological family. I didn't think it would be right for me to attend his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. However, I knew his wife was a fabulous cook so I took him up on his offer. What a wise choice that was! Thanksgiving dinner at my friend’s house was one of the best, if not the best Thanksgiving dinner I ever had (with all due respects to Mom – she is a pretty darn good cook too.) The difference with my friend’s dinner was who was in attendance. Around the beautifully set out dining room table were my friend, his wife, their two adult daughters, his Mom, his aunt, his brother and his wife and her mom, and his single cousin. I was added to this mix and felt right at home.
His house was warm and comfortable. The aromas wafting in from the kitchen were positively heady. Laughter abounded everywhere. Chaos reigned but who cared? We were family.
I called my friend last night to wish him and his family a happy Thanksgiving. He extended his invitation again as he had many times in the past. To my great regret, I cannot take him up on his invitation this year because I am working later today. Also, there is a significant geographical separation between us now. His family lives in southeastern Pennsylvania and I live in the southern peninsula of Delaware.
Even though I am working today and may not be enjoying the traditional sit down Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family, I will give thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Good health, financial security, a wonderful home in a wonderful state. But, of all my blessings, the one I am most thankful for are my friends. They have made my life a joy. Thank you all.