We are all looking forward to seeing you in the next two weeks for Thanksgiving. I always liked Thanksgiving. As a kid it meant the start of a different kind of season, school was in full swing, vacation was coming and so was the snow. But there was a change in the community. Food drives, parties and of course the December holiday shopping season was about to start. Back then the Red and Green tsunami had not yet hit the stores and the Thanksgiving was not seen as a day to carb load for the coming day of shopping. Thanksgiving truly was a day to give thanks.
The thing I most remember was how you and dad made it a family day. We had all been home from school, from early morning you were both in the kitchen, prepping the turkey, chopping veggies, the giant industrial work bowl full of croutons that will soon be stuffing and dressing (there is a difference), and potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, and your ever present bottles of Liebfraumilch. Dad had made some pies days before and you had added your own. Food was in abundance and there were many welcome at the table. I can’t imagine that we added people to the table as we were enough to field a ball team if Hannah’s boyfriend came and with Oma in the early years. But I often recall visitors. But for me it was family.
The day was always fun, when little I remember hanging out in the kitchen a lot and as I got older running off mid-morning to the park with friends. After Dad died you kept up the tradition as best you could. You cooked for so many, tirelessly in my experience. The main meal always seemed to start around 2 pm which was part of the tradition. But no one suffered from hunger, between the early morning breakfast and the meal, there was always something available to eat. Your strict habit of keeping us out of the food all day long was relaxed for the holiday. It truly made the day special in a way that didn't feel like a normal day off from school.
While I will always remember Thanksgiving, it was when we were all little that was the most special. There were traditions and those still make me smile. One was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. We kids would watch for the balloons and celebrities, however I was always more interested in the kitchen, which meant I did dishes as the day went on. The parade was often followed by two movies that still give me a good feeling of family. Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers, a classic came on in the late afternoon. I used to think that it was only allowed to be shown on Thanksgiving. Scary, funny and really a strange film, it was something everyone would sit around an watch before football took over the TV on that day. But when the meal was over, the dishes mostly done, and the sun had set, one of Dad’s favorite movies seemed to always be shown. The Wizard of Oz became a family tradition and I can still see his face smile as he attempted to enjoy the wonderful pageantry of Emerald City.
By late evening there was a sense of calm in the house, many of us had already started on left overs. You took a well deserved seat in your chair, as the night went on and we drifted off to bed you shared your moment of your own thanksgiving. I don't know if I ever thanked you for all you gave me, the feeling of comfort, the feeling of family, the ritual, tradition and thoughtfulness. And thank you for all the food. I hope this year our visit will give us the feelings we had all those years ago.