For me, Thanksgiving has changed over the years. It used to be a time of tradition, the family coming together, getting dressed up, enjoying dinner together and conversation or games after. It would start with everyone watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.(Hey, I even marched in it one year!) The kitchen would be full of family all morning long, with wonderful smells wafting through the house all day long. The kids running around outside playing in the piles of leaves, tossing the ball around and spying on the men, who were sneaking shots of whiskey when the stepped outside for a smoke.
All the kids sat at a separate table, the adults lined up at the big one and platters of side dishes covered the middle. Grandpa would emerge from the kitchen with the biggest golden brown turkey you ever saw. Smiles all over his face as if he had anything to do with cooking the thing. He would ceremoniously place it at his setting an whip out his trusty carving knife and sharpener. We would then stare in awe as he sharpened his knife for what seemed a good half hour, an then he’d finally carve the turkey.
Time to eat. I don’t know how I managed it with all those people there and being at the kids table, but someone (I have an image of my mother diving across the table) would always save me one of the legs. Next would come a good helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green-bean casserole, stuffing, corn, peas, Brussels sprouts (yes I ate them when I was a kid), creamed onions (still one of my faves), and homemade dinner roles. I’m sure there was more, but that was all I liked.
When everyone was finished eating, it seemed all the woman rose in unison. The table was cleared, everyone retired to the living room where Gramps lit a fire and a football game was turned on. The game would be on in the background, card games and board games where played. And then the moment I always waited for the most. Desert would be laid out on the buffet.
Apple pie, Pumpkin pie, Cherry pie, molasses cookies and RED CAKE!!!!! Good Lord, I love Red Cake, lol.
And then, it was time to go home.
Now-a-days, The guys go out hunting, I watch the parade by myself, make some creamed onions and sweet potato casserole and we go over to the in-laws at five pm. Food is laid out buffet style, you line up like a bunch of cows, fill your plates, feed your face and move to the couch long enough to catch your breath and pass gas, then head home. I don’t even get my Red Cake unless I make it.
I miss the old days, I miss Grandma and Grandpa, and I miss the tradition of it being a whole day family process.
So what are your traditions???