I wrote this a year ago, and posted it. I thought it was worth a revisit. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
When I was a kid growing up, my family seemed large. Besides my grandparents, there were five of their children, including my Dad, and their spouses, as well as oodles of cousins. While most of the family was involved in the three working farms my family owned and operated, my Dad worked off the farm, my uncle Mo lived and worked in Virginia, and my Aunt Bev, her husband and children lived in Searsmont. So, we all would all look forward to a day of spending time together as one big family at my grandparents homestead. The meals were epic, the ladies in my family were all fantastic chefs, and their Thanksgiving creations were highly anticipated by each and everyone of us. it now seems impossible that we were able to crowd so many of us around the table in my grandmothers kitchen, but we did. It was an amazing event, in that little kitchen, illustrated by much laughter and unrelenting happiness to be together, and further punctuated by the moans of these happy people smelling and enjoying delicious foods, along with comfortable chatter and wonderful stories as we would stuff ourselves with food and bask in each others company.
Thanksgiving morning was usually spent with the men and boys doing a little hunting, and the ladies using their creative geniuses preparing this feast of Kings. Whether it was the guys hunting or the gals cooking, each of us felt this bond- many people, one family. After the meal and cleanup we would all gather in my grandparents living-room to continue this day of thanks, and this day together. Usually this was the time to discuss plans to reunite in 30 days for presents and Christmas dinner.
Now, I know I am describing that TV family of the 70’s, the Waltons, and no “real” family could be this happy to see each other, but we were. I’ve come to realize the reason we were is because of the foundation, the glue, if you will, that my grandparents provided each of us. They were unquestionably the patriarch and matriarch of their brood. This must be true, because once they were gone, our family of back then, started fragmenting into each of the next generation having their own holiday traditions with their immediate families. I’ve also come to realize that this is a natural way of life with most large families…seems we only get together as my grandparents brood during funerals these days.
When my children were growing up, at first we would try to “fit in” as many Thanksgiving tables as possible- my family, her family, siblings tables..etc. After a while, we started our own tradition for both of the holidays of this time of year and often had parents and siblings join us, perhaps the following year we would join them…nothing engraved in the traditions stone. Once the kids became adults and started having their own children, we once again became nomadic in our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and get togethers. I have come to the conclusion that we have “lost” many of the “old ways” due to a much higher speed life in general, and in-particular on holidays that should focus on family. I mean after-all, being a grandfather gives me second chance at being a doting and nurturing parental figure.
I am pleased to be part of my youngest son, my lovely daughter in law, and their two amazing little girls attempt to build holiday tradition in their family unit. I am also very pleased that my two other children and their families are taking part in this. I hope that I can offer to some extent, to my brood, what my grandfather offered to his.
I am excited to be spending Thanksgiving at Bryant, Allison, Starla, and lil Zelda’s home, and I cant wait to hug each one of my kids and grand-kids.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family, here’s wishing you the same warm and wonderful times with your families that I have experienced in the past, and that I look forward to in the future.
Make it special folks, and please dont take it for granted.