In less than two weeks, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. This is the day when families gather together to eat a tremendous amount of food, and give thanks for the blessings of the harvest God has given them.
Most families have a tradition of what food is served, what activities they do together, if any, and whose home it will all take place. For those of us who have a few decades behind us, there are bound to be many memories of past Thanksgivings. Most memories will warm the heart and perhaps bring a tear to the eyes, but all of them have helped mold our Thanksgiving celebration into what it is today.
The preparations for Thanksgiving seemed to begin days earlier for mom and grandma as they baked bread, rolls, pumpkin and cherry pies, pumpkin cake, and maybe some fudge and potato candy got thrown into the mix. Noodles were rolled, cut, and left to dry. A huge bowl of fruit salad was prepared, and fruit nut bread was already stored away waiting. Everything was made from scratch. I didn’t know there was any other way.
Growing up on a small dairy farm, our schedule of Thanksgiving Day events may have been a little different than some. Mom was up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare and stuff the turkey before putting it in the oven. Then she’d wake up dad and the boys to go to the barn and do the morning chores and milking. I’d get to sleep a little longer and my job was to take care of my little brother, Joey.
After the milking and chores, mom would come back into the house and start cooking while dad and the boys went rabbit hunting with a couple beagle dogs. When I was really small, I was allowed to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on our black & white TV, but as I became old enough to help in the kitchen, more time was spent helping there, but we all took sneak peeks at the parade.
Promptly at noon, dad and the boys would come back from their hunting. Sometimes they had a couple rabbits, sometimes not. They’d get cleaned up for dinner and we’d all sit around the table in our assigned places. Mom or grandma would say grace and then dad would begin the procession of food around the table. It was tradition.
We kids all grew older and one by one left the farm. Traditions changed and it became harder to get everyone together for Thanksgiving. Family members passed away. Marriage and divorce happened for me. Then one year there were only three of us to sit at the table together. After mom passed away, so did the tradition.
For a few years, I was pretty sad at Thanksgiving. But life goes on and I’m a survivor, so I began creating new traditions just for me. Yes, it can be done. For many years, I volunteered to work every Thanksgiving and that became my tradition. Then I retired, so I had to come up with something new. For a few years, I would put a turkey breast in the slow cooker and fix green beans and herb dressing in the microwave. It wasn’t a feast like years before, but it was still a feast! And I spent the day with my pets and watched Christmas movies. It became a tradition.
This year, the menu is changing to beef stew in the slow cooker and pumpkin pie for dessert. But the tradition of spending the day with my fur family and watching Christmas movies will remain. It makes me happy.
As life happens, traditions can be a saving grace, or a bittersweet memory. Circumstances sometime dictate that we make changes. It can be exciting to start new traditions tailored just for you! Traditions can also bring comfort. I pray everyone finds comfort in a tradition this Thanksgiving, new or old. It’s something to be grateful for.
Do you have a new tradition for Thanksgiving this year?