Thanksgiving tradition in my life has always meant family. When I was VERY young, our family would travel from where ever it was we were living to Front Royal, VA to be with my grandparents. My mom's mom was my favorite person on the entire planet. (I am quite sure she is my personal angel and guardian, and keeps me out of real trouble!) It was worth the trip, even though it meant I had to ride for hours and days in the backseat with my older and mischievous brother! My mom's parents had beautiful thoroughbred race horses, chickens and rabbits, home grown veggies and a piano! We always ate Thanksgiving dinner at their house. It was always the best food EVAH!!! And there was plenty of sweet tea, which I'm sure was syrup in disguise! My dad's parents owned a small motel, and their house was equally as intriguing because there were always rooms to rent out and a HUGE rock in their backyard that served as a stage. My cousin Georga and I did plenty of shows on that rock! They had a HUMONGOUS kitchen but I only remember eating dinner there once. That is probably not an accurate account, but my dad's mother was the victim of a stroke at a very young age and later developed Parkinson's, so her ability to really fix dinner was extremely altered by her physical complications. I was also scared to death of the woman because her voice had a vibrato in it and it was shrill. She yelled a lot to be heard and I was just sure she was the lady from Hansel and Gretel! So funny what your child brain comes up with, isn't it?
There were lots of times when a trip to VA wasn't possibly because of my dad's work schedule, so we would go at Christmas instead. On those Thanksgivings my mom and dad would cook and we would have a family dinner at our own homes. There were 5 of us to begin with, and then with additions of spouses and children, it became quite an ordeal! And even though most of us were in the Atlanta area in those years, we all had to travel through city traffic. Sometimes that was crazy all in itself. By the time I was a young adult, my grandparents had all passed away. We were on our own then. It was always wonderful and filled with love, great feasting, and plenty of celebrating. We were lucky, as I don't remember any crazy family fighting that I hear about from some of my friends.
My parents are gone now, as is that mischievous big brother. (and goodness I DO miss them so!) I have become quite nostalgic in recent years. My own children have all become parents and are responsible for their own family dinners. And although I am proud of the adults they have become, I REALLY miss the whole family gathering thing. And I am always sad for folks when I hear the dread in their voices because they "have" to go to a family gathering at Thanksgiving. I admit I was blessed with the family I was born in to. My sister and I proudly hold up the family name as best we can!
Paul and I always have a Thanksgiving dinner here at the house now. We invite every one and any one who doesn't have another place to be. We LOVE hosting Thanksgiving. It's such a loving, happy holiday. It's about that for me. What about for you?
So, as I sit here and enjoy the Macy's parade, I am readying myself to get in the kitchen and play chief cook and bottle washer for a while. Then we'll have dinner and enjoy the fellowship of our friends and adopted brothers and sisters.
I so hope you all have a wonderful, love filled, full on feast today (or what ever day works for you and yours). And if I only had one wish today, it would be that my little friend Dylan will begin producing his own blood cells today, this wonderful day of Thanks. Rock on, Dylan. And hugs to all of your family and families like yours who are spending this day in places other than where you would truly choose to be.
Count your blessings!
That's what today is for.