10 Days of Gratitude

My favorite holiday is coming up. No, not Christmas; Thanksgiving. As a younger member of a large family, Thanksgiving was a time to come together, catch-up, and share what we were thankful for. I enjoyed keeping nieces and nephews amused while my mother and sisters prepared our wonderful meals.

Yes, meals, plural. We ate  — all day long — first a huge Thanksgiving breakfast, then an mid-afternoon turkey dinner followed in a few hours with pie and later in the evening the first of the turkey sandwiches and leftovers. In between we gathered as a family to watch a TV program or movie, play a game, and share memories. And we laughed — a lot!

Though we had traditions, I recall a lot of acceptance and change, too. For example, sisters-in-law as well as my older sisters brought new side dishes to the meal. The variety of enticing aromas — turkey, sweet potatoes, apples and cinnamon, pumpkin — mingled with the tangy taste of pickles and salty olives which we pilfered from the condiments tray. Everything seemed to mix and fit. I don’t recall my mother ever complaining, though I faced that resistance from the mothers of past boyfriends. And, we kept this ever-expanding family together at a single holiday table. No kiddie tables to divide the group. (I assume my father, brothers, and brothers-in-law were engineering a way for all of us to eat at a single table. And it definitely was in our finished rec-room basement, not the dining area which would never have fit all of us.)

So, as far back as I can recall, Thanksgiving was the first of the coming-together for the holidays. Good food, special holiday dishes, and the love and encouragement of family is what this holiday mean for me. And as a younger child in a large family, I did have plenty of encouragement. For that I am grateful.

In honor I plan to reflect on all I am grateful for as the holiday approaches. The first is my family. Wishing all peace and blessing during the coming holidays!

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