Then And Now…

My sister Paula and my brother John…

My brother John and me…

I love Thanksgiving because other than cooking so many things…it is just a lovely holiday. I love going home to Ohio…I love seeing family…I love all of the prep that goes into this one holiday dinner. My husband and I have our own traditions for our holidays but one that we rarely ever change is our Thanksgiving drive to Ohio. No matter where we are…we always come home. My first memory of Thanksgiving was watching my mom and my aunts and my Polish grandmother with all of their preparations. If I was very lucky…I would be allowed to help someone fold the pristine and very white damask napkins or hand someone the silver from the big wooden box. Then as my aunts became grandmas and my own grandma died everyone had their own Thanksgiving dinners in their own houses. We were still all in the same quaint little town and we would meet at someone’s house for dessert. It was still all so much fun. Then…my brother John graduated from college and moved to Michigan, my sister got married and was in Columbus and my youngest brother and I were still at home. I was teaching and my brother was still in school but we were still all together for Thanksgiving. Aunts and uncles and cousins were not seen regularly any more…some aunts and uncles died…but my mom always had news about all the remaining aunts and uncles and cousins and babies and neighbors and it was still a family Thanksgiving.

Within the last few years, Thanksgiving has been at my sister’s house. My mom did not seem to mind giving up her main chef role and the three of us would work together to make Thanksgiving dinner. My sister and my mom would make the turkey and stuffing and gravy and sweet potatoes…I think my only role at that time was making homemade cranberry sauce that no one in my family liked…they all preferred the shiny tube of cranberry sauce that came out of a can…my mom would slice it…and my dad loved it…so funny to remember that now.

During this period of time…my husband and I and any pets we had would still stay with my parents. My mom’s house and my sister’s house were a few blocks apart. My mom and dad and my husband and I would usually walk over and my mom would still preside over the gravy and the sweet potatoes and my mom and dad would sit at the head of my sister’s table. And it was still the Thanksgiving that I always cherished. Then…there were Thanksgivings when my dad didn’t feel well enough to attend but he always managed…until the last Thanksgiving that we all had together and neither one of my parents came to my sister’s house. I think my mom just never wanted to leave my dad…and she thought it was her job to stay with him. So my sister and I would make them a plate of Thanksgiving dinner and I would take it up to them. And then my mom died and then my dad died and now this Thanksgiving was my second Thanksgiving without them. There are new faces around my sister Paula’s table…her daughter has two children with another on the way. Nephews from my sister Paula’s family and their dad are always there. Sometimes my sister Paula’s mother in law is there. We make the same sweet potatoes my mom always made…and even though my sister Paula doesn’t really like them…they sort of just have to be there. My sister is so efficient in her kitchen…she whips out this dinner and homemade pies as if it is just the easiest thing in the world. I just happened to look up at her as she was in her kitchen and even though she does not really look like my mom…I see my mom in her…some of her expressions and manners are the ones my mom had…this was the first time I noticed this about her and I finally realized how much our parents are a part of what we now do. So…now we drive directly to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. We have dinner with new friends and old ones. We drink and talk and watch football. We eat in the middle of the afternoon and then people leave and later come back to my sister’s house again. There are children under our feet and noise everywhere and I hear my sister’s grandchildren ask her for juice or play dough or an Oreo…and…I still love Thanksgiving…it is different…it is sad…but it is still wonderful.

Happy Thanksgiving Mom and Dad!!!

My mom and my little brother Jim and my dad in his beloved garden.

6 thoughts on “Then And Now…

  1. Ti says:

    What a touching post. So many wonderful memories. I also have to tell you that I love the new blog format. I read through a reader most days and just noticed it. It's wonderful.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s