Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thanksgiving Table

Tomorrow is the big turkey day and the family will be gathering at my daughter’s house for the feast. With few exceptions the Thanksgiving Day gathering has been an annual tradition. Though the location changed from time to time over the years, the tradition held together well.

 I don’t recall how we celebrated as I was growing up and living with my parents. Once we moved to Chicago, I’m sure we just had a quiet family dinner with the five of us – my parents, my two brothers, and me. Later, after my sister was born, my brothers and I were all married and living far from home.

However, by 1963, at least for a short time, we “kids” were all back home with our spouses and children. Once again Mom had a houseful to cook for at Thanksgiving. I guess that's when the tradition really began. Time went on and the two boys with their families moved away again but my husband, Jim, and I stayed on with our two girls. Thanksgiving became a holiday to bring all of our families together. My mother included Jim’s parents and sister in all the gatherings which meant we didn't have to divide our time between sides.

Jim and I and the girls moved from small apartment to small apartment for years – no room for hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. Finally, in 1971, after nearly ten years, we bought our home with room enough for all. Thanksgiving became my holiday! How I loved cooking, decorating the tables, and bringing everyone together!

But, of course, I wasn’t quite satisfied. My vision of Thanksgiving (Norman Rockwell style) included everyone sitting around one large table, – all the adults, at least - not split between numerous small tables and TV trays. Jim, as he so often does, came to the rescue. He built a table long enough for all the grown-ups and wide enough to handle the serving dishes, turkey platter, and place settings. The children still had to sit at a card table, but that still fit my vision.

I loved that table. It served us well for dinner after dinner and not just on Thanksgiving. It’s still around somewhere, I think. I’ve not used it in years and it’s been passed from daughter to daughter through the years. I won’t need it back but I still have the picture in my mind of our families giving thanks around it.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!! 

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