Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Through the Decades

What else to write about today but a few Thanksgiving memories? Or at least some short snippets. It’s a magical day. So many delicious foods. A beautiful table setting. Company is often involved.

Except for my Grandma Ashe, in my childhood our family had few relatives nearby since my folks had pulled up their Eastern stakes to resettle in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. One of my mom’s cousins lived a few hours away as did one of her shoestring relatives on the Doyle side. So from time to time we got together with these families on holidays, including Thanksgiving.

Those Thanksgivings pretty much blend together but a few aspects of them never changed: Mom cooked a wonderful dinner, and she set an elegant table. By elegant, I don’t mean magazine-fancy with towering flower arrangements and centerpieces everywhere, but she used her shiny silver, the antique platters, and the best tablecloth, that came out only on special occasions. Every dish was done on time. Dad helped. The kids helped. And our pie tradition was unique: though Gram always brought her perfect pumpkin pie, none of us ate more than our obligatory sliver--we were not pumpkin pie fans. Mom made, or had us make, a chocolate crème pie, and that continues to be the tradition in my house now.

Southern Cal weather was always pleasant on turkey day. Not so when I moved to Utah, Idaho and Oregon. The stupidest thing I ever did for Thanksgiving was when Deb Schueneman and I drove home for the holiday from BYU my sophomore year. She had a VW bug and we left after our last class Wednesday, so probably not until 3 or 4 p.m. Somewhere in southern Utah we hit black ice and spun out on the interstate. Then we had only two days at home before heading back.

In later years we have had many Thanksgivings with just our family, but on occasion we have invited others or gone to other homes. I would just as soon cook my own and invite others, because we enjoy the leftovers so much. In fact, that’s one of my favorite aspects of TG—that I don’t do hardly any cooking the rest of the weekend. Everybody helps on TG, then the rest of the weekend people just eat what they want, it’s all ready and waiting in the fridge! We might vary it by making top ramen turkey soup or something equally exciting ;-)

I always have a home project on TG weekend because of having so much free time not having to cook. But this year am recovering from surgery so it will be different.

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