A Family Thanksgiving

Time to Create a New Tradition?

I chop the turkey veggies the night before so I can sleep just a little bit later on Thanksgiving morning!

On Thanksgiving morning I got up at 6:15 am to sauté celery and onions in a pound of butter, the start of my tried-and-true Thanksgiving morning ritual. The fresh turkey was stuffed and in the oven by 7:15 am. I crawled back in bed at 7:18 am and got up “for real” a couple hours later, refreshed and ready to complete the rest of my annual Thanksgiving Day preparations.

I always loved Thanksgiving; it was my favorite holiday of all. I loved to cook for extended family. I took over cooking duties (and the traditional menu) from our Mom more than 20 years ago. My three sisters and their families came to eat and laugh and talk. My parents often slept overnight. Sometimes out-of-town aunts and uncles made the drive from PA or OH and spent the weekend with us. It was crowded. It was fun. It was family.

Over the past few years the number of people around our Thanksgiving Day table has dwindled. My youngest sister Lori relocated to AZ years ago and has only been able to return once to celebrate the season with us.  A few years ago my Dad passed away, and before that first Thanksgiving, our Mom relocated to AZ. A couple years ago my sister Linda died. My adult nieces and nephews do their own things. And the far-off relatives celebrate closer to home now.

I set my table the night before. I love using my good china and linens!

Sitting around the table this year were 8 people: my family of 4, my father-in-law Ken and his girlfriend Alice, and my sister Cindy and her husband Bid. We had a great time, relaxed, happy, laughing, and thankful to be together. That wasn’t the point though.

After some bantering back and forth my sister and I talked about our dwindling numbers and long-held traditional meal. I don’t think I’m overstating it to say that Cindy and I feel like we’ve been maintaining a tradition for an extended family that is . . . primarily . . . gone from this place. We think we are ready to create what could become a new Thanksgiving tradition that better suits us, our husbands, and my kids.  We have decided to celebrate Thanksgiving 2011 together somewhere besides around my dining room table. In a place where the sun shines and the ocean beckons.

Will we do it?

I’m ready!


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4 Responses to A Family Thanksgiving

  1. Cindy says:

    Oh yes! We’re in! It’s time to try Thanksgiving in the sun, at the beach, eatin’ Island Turkey!

  2. Lita says:

    When I was six, Mom, Dad and I were celebrating Thanksgiving. Turned 9 and now there were four. Brother had arrived. Seven years later make it five. Younger sister, the “surprise” arrived. (She still loves to surprise us.) Now there were five. Every now and then a friend might show up to share Thanksgiving, but for a long time it was only “us.” No grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins. No anybody else. Thanksgiving grew a little bigger when I married and had two children. Now there were eight. Ten when my husband’s Mom and Dad joined us.

    This Thanksgiving we numbered fourteen. My father, Sis and husband, their two kids, my two daughters and their husbands, three grandchildren, and husband and I. Come to think of it, I could say 14 1/2. My younger daughter is expecting a baby in
    March. So by next year we should number 15.

    I grew up watching TV shows with lots of family members sitting around a table with a great, big fat turkey: Dad content, Mom beaming, kids smiling, aunts talking, uncles smoking (ugh!), grandfathers and grandmothers listening. Warm weather, sunny skies, no dishes, no bantering, no arguing, and no fighting over what board game to play or not. A TRIP SOUNDS REALLY GOOD. After all whether you’re at a table, beach, lake, or mountaintop, the feelings remain the same, right? BUT I just cannot shake that TV shot that’s in my head. It took so long to get there

  3. I love the smell of the turkey roasting, the myriad of jig-saw puzzle pieces on the floor, and the arguing over the football game. But I suppose I could find a way to do all those things in a warm climate!

  4. Ginger says:

    That’s a super idea! As you know, I love Thanksgiving and could not fathom leaving town and not having my traditional favorites…so, we began the Turducken Party Southern Style and celebrate on the Sunday before…we usually leave the country on Wed. night and go where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated! Our anniversary is the 26th…this year, I took a year off and actually went over to the golf club…was trying to get out of putting up a tree but that won’t happen…”someone” decided to have a December Turducken Party…You all can come here next year — we will have bathrooms for one and all!!!

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