LTJ: Thoughts of Thanksgiving

Posted on November 3, 2010

I love family traditions. When I was young my grandparents always spent Thanksgiving with us, traveling two hours from their home. My brother, Jimmy and I would run to meet them as soon as we saw their car pull off the road to our house. Grandmama would be dressed in her Sunday best, including wedge heels, necklace and earbobs. She always smelled of sweet sachet. Granddad would unfold his six-foot plus frame from the driver side, revealing slacks, dress shirt and tie, while grabbing his jacket and hat before closing
the door.

Jimmy and I, just 18 months apart in age, usually spent a week or more with our grandparents each summer.

We marveled at their big yellow house on the corner with a bathroom and three kitchens. Our little country home had no indoor plumbing so we figured this must be a mansion. Granddad would take us on his daily walk to the post office where he got mail in a tiny glass cubicle with a dial. Certainly different from our roadside mailbox. We met the local domino players then sauntered down the street for a double dip ice cream cone. Pure bliss! Having our grandparents spend Thanksgiving in our home was just as special.

My husband also grew up with the tradition of joining his relatives on Thanksgiving. After we married, we meshed both traditions. At noon, our little family joined the Jones clan for their annual family reunion consisting of more aunts, uncles and cousins than our kids could remember. That evening we descended on my parents’ home and met with my five siblings, their families and our grandparents. Thank goodness the gatherings were in the same town.

It was the best of times and we are all richer because of the lifelong relationships formed during those years and the wonderful memories we carry in our hearts. Family is so important. They love us when we aren’ t loveable and stand beside us when others walk away.

Through the years, Thanksgiving traditions in both families dissolved. As grandparents, aunts, uncles and even parents passed away, so did our reunions. My husband’ s parents are deceased. He has no siblings and his relatives no longer gather for the holiday. Some of my siblings now live hundreds of miles away so we each hold traditions in our own homes with our families.

It’ s a different kind of holiday than I grew up with, but in our home we still roast a turkey and bake pumpkin pies, even though we have switched to microwave stuffing. We still thank God for our health, our bounty of blessings and for each family member, whether present or away.

I admit I miss those family gatherings. I miss my grandparents who made everything in life seem special and I miss my daddy who left this earth eight years ago. I also miss the camaraderie of family under one roof.

The lyrical music of laughter, hugs and even tears on parting while knowing we would repeat this crazy chaos of family harmony the next year.

I cherish those memories but also enjoy this new stage of life. No travel. No stress. Just sweet blessings falling from heaven. I pray the same for you. May you have a bountiful, memorable and blessed Thanksgiving! 

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