With Thanksgiving this week, it’s nice to read “On Being Grateful,” which is how baby boomer Sherrill Pool Elizondo of Cypress, Texas, feels on this holiday.
Christmas decorations in stores before Halloween!? I’m no Grinch but I find Thanksgiving, not Halloween, to be symbolic of what’s so very good about our country. And early enough to get the shopping done.
Thanksgiving is truly an American holiday along with the 4th of July. A day to enjoy family and friends whether you use good china or paper plates… whether you show up in your dressy clothes or shorts and college sweatshirts. People can laugh, talk, and enjoy a great meal. So what’s not to love about Thanksgiving?
Where I live, we are usually blessed with beautiful fall-like weather and there’s no pressure about buying gifts or elaborate decorations. It is time-consuming to prepare a table with beautiful food and I learned how to make Thanksgiving a happy day way back in the 1950’s and 60’s.
My father was in charge of preparing turkey and dressing. I’d stay up late the night before and get up early Thanksgiving morning when he was “fixin” dressing. My fondest memories of him revolved around preparation of cornbread dressing while we talked.There was always cornbread and dried white bread to be crumbled. With giblets, corn, and all the other ingredients and seasonings, the dressing was great!
Every year though there was a heated discussion between my parents as to whether or not there was too much or too little sage. At least there were no political discussions back then at our Thanksgiving table.
I used to look forward to Thanksgiving at my parents’ home, and having my sons partake in the tradition. When Dad was older and not in good health, he finally said he could no longer handle Thanksgiving for the entire family. I don’t recall what we did that year but I distinctly remember the first year I prepared Thanksgiving alone for just my small family. It was a bittersweet time but I did a fairly good job. There’ve been some Thanksgiving celebrations at relatives’ and friends’ homes in Texas and various parts of the country. But none has ever quite compared to Thanksgivings in San Antonio at my parents’ country home. Still, each has been special.
I’ve prepared stuffing alone but am very grateful when someone helps the night before. That person has either been a younger brother, a son, or my husband, whoever is present and willing to crumble bread/cornbread, slice and dice celery and onions, and help decide if the dressing is seasoned properly and NO, I’ve never become sick from tasting a little raw dressing for seasoning!
In my family, there’s only one small discussion about food. I know to buy just enough cranberries to cook for certain family members. I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without cranberries, and pumpkin and pecan pies! One daughter-in-law loves my sweet potato casserole. She’s from Brazil and sweet potatoes are a favorite there.
My sons have taken over Thanksgiving planning and preparations now and we gather at one of their homes. Turkey & dressing are prepared by one son and everyone contributes sides and desserts. It wasn’t easy to relinquish the reins to cooking the entire meal but I’m getting used to it and grateful for help.
I know many people start their Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving (or, heaven forbid, on Thanksgiving itself), but you will not find me in any store. I shop year-round for my gift closet, so I find the Thanksgiving weekend shopping boring and the crowds no fun to be around. I’d rather be at home visiting family, eating leftovers, or maybe taking in a movie or going to a park.
Neither will I be trimming a tree! I’m not bothered if others find this a perfect weekend to get things accomplished for Christmas but I want to savor Thanksgiving. I can think of no other holiday that brings back so many of my favorite memories.
I am thankful for so much and for being able to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, and I’m thankful that my family taught me the value of sharing love and laughter. I am grateful for many blessings accumulated through the years. To be able to be grateful in life is a blessing unto itself.
Maybe we should hold Thanksgiving in our hearts every single day of the year. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.