Well tomorrow is the big day. Hundreds of thousands of families will be gathered around their tables thankful for however the good Lord blessed them. Dinners and feasts from turkeys to tamales, from pecan pie to Hasty Pudding our meals will be as diverse as we are.
The thing that makes us Americans is why we come together. More than food, tomorrow is about being thankful for blessings, family and friends. It’s about honoring tradition and relationships. Recalling fond memories and creating new ones.
We will embrace our joys and share our sorrows. We will find comfort in those around us. Maybe we’ll have a spat with Uncle Bob.
Thanksgiving dinner in our home is pretty traditional. Turkey; stuffing (in the bird), giblet gravy, a ton of sides and a ton of desserts. We’ve changed our traditional meal very little over the decades. When my mother was alive there would be sauerkraut and spare ribs. My father and brother would eat the giblets. My granddaughter has added her homemade salsa and chips to the menu, my oldest son can’t have onion in his stuffing and deliciousness must be blended for Ben.
Our family holiday traditions are kept alive through the meal we prepared. The loved ones we’ve lost are kept alive through the stories we tell as we gather around our table.
When I was a child, most of the serious talking came after the meal and it was always robust. After dinner drinks were, milk and Kool-Aid for the children, beer and liquor for the adults.
From time to time I share the story of how my Memaw used to chase us around the house to preach.
It’s at this point of the evening I might find myself hiding in the trash can. If you NEVER want to be found by a slightly inebriated grandparent, hiding in the trash can is almost as effective as hiding in a pig pen. One is closer, but Memaw isn’t going to be checking either one. Trust me.
Out of respect for my parents I have never written about my Memaw. My mother would not have approved. I can tell this story now because Memaw has long since passed and my parents, as of a few Thanksgivings ago, celebrate with the good Lord. I imagine a much more serene Thanksgiving for them now.
I remember when I fixed my first Thanksgiving dinner without my mother standing beside me for moral support. I was living over 2,000 miles away in California.
Thanksgiving can be a stressful meal to prepare for those of us who fret about such things. I’ve been cooking this meal for over 40 years now but there’s always something. Dropping a pan of sweet potatoes, forgetting the rolls, both catastrophic at the time. Things that make us laugh now during the retelling.
Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions are, enjoy your day tomorrow. Enjoy your family, even crazy Uncle Bob. You’ll miss him when he’s gone.
Most importantly, don’t stress over the forgotten rolls or dropped potatoes. Those will become the color commentary for your tomorrows.
For those of you who fret, the Butterball Turkey line: 888-288-8372.