Thanksgiving, in a word, and as a word, is a mouthful. The long, feasting-table-length wish of “Happy Thanksgiving!” fills the air with syllables, and the mind with fond memories of food and family. The very thought of Thanksgiving Day, to many of us, brings an anticipation of aromas wafting from warm, turkey-scented kitchens. Gravy-drenched garlic potatoes, steamy stuffing, pickles and pies all come to mind when we ponder this casual and cozy, butter-basted, late November holiday. It’s the day of pilgrims, Indians, and cornucopias that we learned of as young children; the day with the name which even begins with the ‘turkey’ letter. Yum, yum!
This coming holiday will be the forty-third Thanksgiving Day Lorna and I have celebrated together as husband and wife. Some recent Thanksgivings have been spent at the home of one or another of our adult children, and those times are wonderful. Still, over the years, most of these family feasts have taken place right here in our old Barre, Vermont home.
To Lorna and to me there has always been something special about such times in this solid, well-aged place. Home is a house where your memories reside, and that is likely what makes this one so spe-cial to us. The sturdy, tall, thick-walled, elderly rooms of this house nearly echo with sounds of holidays past; of hours spent here, sheltered from the cold world by those big walls, and by big love. Here we have cooked dozens of family-sized Thanksgiving turkeys together, and have stuffed them all with stuffing of only slightly varying stuff. We have also stuffed celery and pumpkins here, have opened scores of cans of cranberry sauce and peeled hundreds of potatoes, all for fleeting, passing, Thanksgiving Day dinners. I enjoy the notion that even earlier families who occupied this old home had their own holidays filled with scampering children and sumptuous kitchen scents. Their Thanksgivings were certainly graced with laughter and love, smiles and silliness, and grand kids and gratitude, as are ours. At least, I hope that they were.
Over these years our own Thanksgiving menus and recipes have changed little, but, with the passing of time, the company around the table has, necessarily, changed greatly. Years ago grandparents came to help us celebrate our first years together. Years later, our parents and cousins occasionally shared our feast with us and our then-young children. In more recent Novembers, people who look somewhat like those small children we used to have come and bring children of their own to sit around that same old table. How wonderful, and yet how strange that we have now become the grandpar-ents; the elders at the feast. Such positions hold great joy, but also at least a bit of trepidation for me. I know in my heart that, as our family grows ever-greater in number, such future family times must be growing ever-fewer for Lorna and me. Maybe that is okay. We are here together, again this year, and that is enough for now. We do our best to live by faith, and will anxiously await and always enjoy as many family Thanksgivings as God allows us to share.
Years ago we, somehow, found a recipe that I wish you would try this year. It has filled us to overflowing, time and again, and has been the very basis of many nearly perfect Thanksgivings for us. To follow the recipe, you simply turn this holiday’s name around a bit, and remember to make Thanks-giving Day a day of consciously, gratefully, giving thanks. Ę
“George’s World,” a new 740-page collection of George’s columns from The World, is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and your favorite bookstore. “The Smoke And Mir-rors Effect,” George’s first novel, can be seen at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Happy Reading!