Tag Archive | Thanksgiving

It’s Unseasonably Warm

All the calendars tell me it’s November again. The only real evidence of that fact is we had to “fall back” with our clocks last Saturday. Instead  of getting cold, though, we’re having a week of 70 degree temperatures with bright sunshine and clear blue skies. I think Mother Nature is making up for her nasty behavior in the Spring.

But even the warm temperatures can’t deny winter is lurking behind the curtain. It’s dark at 4:30 in the afternoon and Christmas commercials are already appearing on television. Yuck. Another downside of the warm temps is not having the excuse to snuggle in the blankets in the early darkness. I tell everybody who will listen that I would have made a very good bear because I do hibernate.

So how do we get through the next four to six months? (Yes, six months — I live in a northern state where winter is never-ending.) I think the anticipation of the holidays of Thanksgiving and the craziness of Christmas and all it’s “traditions” pull us through this time of year.

So for all you other “sun signs” like me, keep a calendar handy and check off the days until April. It makes you think you’re making progress to more consistent nice, warm, weather. This stretch of present warm temperatures is a fluke.

A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

thanksgivingHolidays are curious times. Most of us look forward to them; some of us dread them. We all have a perception of the “perfect” celebration, which is usually unrealistic. So, when the actual holiday rolls around we are either elated or disappointed. There’s  no in between.

This year I was looking forward to being with Ken’s family in Chicago only to learn they all are heading to Nebraska to be with Ken’s other brother and his family. Needless to say, I was in a funk. My picture of our usual Norman Rockwell-type Thanksgiving with the turkey sitting golden brown on the perfectly set dining table, surrounded by smiling faces were dashed with one phone call.

Last year we went to my dear friend Kay’s house. Little did I know that would be the last time we’d be together for the holiday because this fall Kay and her husband moved to Florida. I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to be together because Thanksgiving is special to Kay. It’s the one American holiday she enjoys as a Scottish immigrant.

This year, though, I had to develop a plan “B,” so  I called a few friends to see if they had plans for the unique American holiday only to find out they were already busy.  It looked like Ken and I would be roasting our 15 pound bird alone, and then we’d sit across the dining room table just like any other ordinary night, staring at each other, while we would eat a meal which was meant to be shared.

And then the phone rang.

Just as I accepted our lonely fate, I got a call from a close friend. It was our Dave inviting us to his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. He and Terry have been friends for over 20 years; we have watched their boys grown into handsome young men and supported each other through good times and bad. This invitation lifted my spirits more than I can tell you.

Now instead of moping around like an orphaned child, I’m actually looking forward to Thursday. I’ll begin the day with a cup of coffee, while I watch the Macy’s parade in my jammies. Following that tradition, Ken and I will enjoy a special breakfast, before we watch the Packers/Lion’s football game dressed in our Packer regalia. Finally, we’ll toddle off to a thankful feast with great friends. Sounds like a good day.

A Fall Into Darkness

Autumn by the pond 001Have you noticed how short the days are becoming? Enter soon the dark, dark, dreary month of November–probably my most hated month of the year. I remember one November in 1991 when there was only eleven hours of sunlight! As a sun sign, I was never so depressed.

The only saving grace of November is we have Thanksgiving, which is a unique holiday to America. It’s a time when most families gather together, stuff themselves with great turkey and trimmings, then remember how lucky they are to have each other. Since 1992, this holiday was dashed for me because when I got divorced after 22 years of marriage, my ex and I had to pick the  holidays when we would have our children. He got Thanksgiving, so ever since I’ve been a Thanksgiving orphan.

I miss not having Thanksgiving with my daughters because they still go to their father’s place on turkey day, but I’ve had twenty years to get used to it. I always looked forward to my orphan status because every Thanksgiving dinner was different, and I didn’t have to put up with a sister who has issues with me or nieces and nephews who never learned social graces.

Every year I always had a place to go because of my strong network of friends who included me with their families. When I met Ken, I finally had a family again. The way they accepted me and included me was a gift, and I was never an orphan again.

So as November approaches, and the time change plunges us into darkness, remember there is a wonderful holiday coming up at the end of the month to remind us just how lucky we are. And then, the next day the craziness of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Saturday” begins — if you’re into that nonsense to take you into frantic December.

Keep “Thanks” in Thanksgiving

Today I’m going to climb up on my SOAP BOX  and rant about my disgust on how American merchants are trying to destroy one of the best holidays we have. Yup. You guessed it. I’m going to yell at all the big box stores to keep their Black Friday sales on FRIDAY.

As you know the latest trend is to push these ridiculous sales–where people forget their manners and trample each other to get the latest gadget– into late Thursday afternoon. If your family is anything like mine, this is about the time everyone is about ready to settle down in front of the television for a football game and usually falls asleep after eating too much turkey and stuffing.

I have fond childhood memories of my Thanksgiving celebrations. That was the day my mother would get up early, give the turkey a bath in melted butter and stuff the cavity with heavenly stuffing that had ground meat and raisins. It was a time when we set the dining room table with party favors that I made at grade school and our best china my mother collected from the grocery store. As the baking turkey’s aroma filled our home with succulent smells, the potatoes, corn, and squash would be cooking on top of the stove.

Just before dinner was ready, we’d all get dressed in our Sunday outfits and wait for our guests to arrive. I looked forward to playing with favorite cousins Nancy and Billie, and laughing at Uncle Marco’s jokes. Nancy and I were only a few months different in age, and we loved playing together.

When the turkey came out of the oven, I got to help my father carve the bird. We’d pile the white and dark meat on two different plates and in between, we’d sneak a taste of the holiday bird. It was a tradition that we carried on into my adulthood.

When all the food was on the table, we’d gather around and say “Grace,” and like after the last note of the Star Spangled Banner rings at a sporting event, it was time to pass the goodies. All the preparation and work was worth it as we gobbled down the good food on our table. There was laughter and conversations we didn’t have any other time of the year. Billie always said he loved my mother’s mashed potatoes, and my Uncle Marco would lean back in his chair, pat his abundant tummy and say he couldn’t eat another thing; but somehow he always found just enough room for pumpkin pie and ice cream.

So you see, American merchants. Thanksgiving is more than just a good meal. It’s a time families create traditions. It’s when families take time to be together, laugh and enjoy each other. It’s a time when special memories are made. Most of all, it’s a time to be thankful for what we have–not what we might find at the next sales event.

So keep your Black Friday on FRIDAY — and leave my Thanksgiving Thursday alone! Nobody needs anything that bad.